Decrease in tamarind trees affects number of winged visitors

P. Sridhar
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Axing of trees attributed to road expansion and other “development” purposes

Coming back home:Painted storks perch atop a tamarind tree at Chintapalli village in Khammam district.– PHOTO: G.N. RAO
Coming back home:Painted storks perch atop a tamarind tree at Chintapalli village in Khammam district.– PHOTO: G.N. RAO

The dwindling number of tamarind trees in this tiny village, a favourite nesting spot for migratory birds, has visibly impacted the decade-old phenomenon.

This is evident from the gradual decline in the number of painted storks visiting Chintapalli, 14 km from the district headquarters, for their annual seasonal sojourn in the last couple of years. Hundreds of painted storks arrived in the first week of January. However, there has been a slight drop in numbers, say villagers.

Chintapalli, as the name denotes, had over 100 tamarind trees over a decade ago. However, the number has come down to about 40 due to axing of trees for road expansion and other “development” purposes.

The painted storks prefer tamarind trees for building nests and multiplying their population. The hospitality of the villagers, who have nurtured their bond with the winged visitors with utmost care for decades, has kept the phenomenon of annual migration of painted storks alive.

“Conservation of the existing tamarind trees and expansion of tree cover holds the key to retaining the coveted status of the village,” said G. Srinivas, a young farmer of Chintapalli. The government departments concerned should grow tamarind trees and conserve water bodies in the vicinity of the village to transform Chintapalli into a major tourism hub, he added.

“We share a long association with the migratory birds which have been coming here for decades, barring one or two years due to drought -like conditions,” said 65-year-old Krishna Murthy.

Collective responsibility

“They are our guests and we feel it is our collective responsibility to protect them from poaching”, he said, adding that the migratory birds were falling prey to poachers during the course of hunting fish in the Palair reservoir, situated a few kilometres from the village.

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