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Man-bird conflict at Upplapadu growing

P. Samuel Jonathan
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Giant trees felled to prevent contamination of water tank with bird droppings

Matter of concern:The felled trunks of age-old peepal trees adjacent to the water tank at the Upplapadu Bird Sanctuary.— Photo: T. VIJAYA KUMAR
Matter of concern:The felled trunks of age-old peepal trees adjacent to the water tank at the Upplapadu Bird Sanctuary.— Photo: T. VIJAYA KUMAR

The steep climb up to the water tank in the scorching mid-day heat is never going to be easy, but if one wanted to have a full picture of the ravage caused by the felling of age-old trees bordering the water tank adjacent to the famed migratory bird habitat, the effort is worth the cause.

The giant peepal trees were felled using an earthmover in an operation lasting two days.

Feeble protests by bird lovers, a generation of elders who have learnt to coexist with the migratory birds, went unnoticed as the village committee decided to do away with the trees that offered shelter to hoards of Spot-billed Pelicans, Painted storks and Asian Open Bill etc.

Breeding season

The breeding season starts in September and ends by March. It’s the time of the year when more number of winged visitors visit the tank and in the absence of a tree cover, the birds would be forced to scramble for cover within the narrow tank.

True, one can see the discoloured and contaminated water in the tank filled by masses of hyacinth, which makes it totally unusable. The villagers have been voicing their concerns over bird droppings in the tank and discomfort caused by the smell.

“How long can we bear the discomfort caused due to bird droppings? We need water and until we are provided assured water supply, we will not allow the birds to perch on the trees,” says an elderly person, Nageswara Rao.

Drastic step

But when they took the drastic step to fell trees, that provided some shelter to the birds clogged in the narrow water tank extending to just 4.2 acre, the alarm bells have started ringing. It seems that the villagers have now started taking things into their hands and the peaceful model of coexistence between the humans and the migratory birds is starting to break away.

Bird lovers concerned

Bird lovers are concerned. “We have been pleading for an assured supply of water for the village since many years. Can’t the district administration come up with a protected water scheme for the village? Upplapadu is one of the largest migratory bird nesting place in South India and we cannot afford to lose the rare treasure,” retired honorary wild life warden, K. Mrutyunjaya Rao told The Hindu in a voice choked with emotion.

The Forest Department, on the other hand, feigned ignorance of the whole episode. “A representation was made by the village committee to remove the hyacinth using earthmovers, but we were never told about the felling of trees,” Forest Range Officer, Sreenivasa Rao said.


  • Until we get assured water supply, we will not allow birds to perch on the trees, says a villager

  • No information about the plan to fell trees, says Forest department



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