Number of birds in the sanctuary has increased after the introduction of new initiatives
The Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary near Srirangapatna attracted more than 2.9 lakh visitors and netted more than Rs. 2.43 crore in revenue during 2011-12.
This figure is a record for the sanctuary which attracts tourists throughout the year. The sanctuary received around 1.89 lakh tourists in 2008-09 so it is easy to see the remarkable feat achieved in three years.
Deputy Conservator of Forests S.N. Devaraj told The Hindu that the Forest Department had taken up initiatives to improve the sanctuary habitat so that more birds would be attracted to the area. As a result, the number of birds roosting in the sanctuary has increased, thereby drawing more tourists, he said.
Some of the initiatives were taken up more than three years ago, such as improving the bird islets which were damaged due to flash floods. The soil and vegetation cover was refurbished to provide birds the requisite natural camouflage.
There are additional bird-centric measures in store to embellish the ambience of the sanctuary. This includes creating a bamboo groove, which will help absorb sound to minimise noise pollution caused by vehicle movement in the vicinity, said Mr. Devaraj. The department has acquired land adjoining the boundary of the sanctuary and will plant saplings of local species of plants, fruit and berry-bearing trees to attract more land-based birds.
The ongoing embellishment of the sanctuary is expected to cost the department Rs. 30 lakh and will be completed in six months.
The sanctuary received legal status when renowned ornithologist Salim Ali visited Mysore in the late 1930s and urged the then Maharaja of Mysore to declare it as a bird sanctuary in view of the large number of birds roosting there. Located a few km upstream of Srirangapatna on the banks of the Cauvery, the sanctuary is home to a variety of birds, including the painted storks, brown-headed barbet, pelicans, stone plover, open-billed stork, grey and purple herons and the kingfisher.