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Better facilities planned for tourists in Ranganatittu

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Beautiful: The arrival of a large number of birds makes Ranganatittu Bird Sanctuary an interesting place to visit.
Beautiful: The arrival of a large number of birds makes Ranganatittu Bird Sanctuary an interesting place to visit.

Shankar Bennur

Acquisition of seven acres of land under way

Mysore: Better facilities may soon be provided at the Ranganatittu Bird Sanctuary near Mysore in an attempt to attract more tourists. The Department of Forests has plans of providing additional amenities for which it has identified seven acres of land and the land acquisition process has commenced.

Once the land is handed over to the department, a blue print will be prepared for building better facilities for tourists. It is felt that if all amenities are provided, then tourists will spend a longer time at the sanctuary.

Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary comprises seven islets on the banks of the Cauvery. The islets were formed when a dam across the Cauvery was built in the 1700s. The ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali observed that the isles formed an important nesting ground for birds, and persuaded the Wadeyar kings of Mysore to declare the area a bird sanctuary in 1940.

According to the Deputy Conservator of Forests Yatish Kumar, the bird sanctuary has become more beautiful and tourist-friendly now with the additions such as a rock garden and walkways.

From the beginning of 2009, the sanctuary has witnessed many development works, including the inauguration of the Salim Ali Interpretation Centre. “As a continuing effort, we have sought additional land for its expansion and making it full-fledged tourist spot incorporating more facilities to draw more tourists,” Mr. Yatish Kumar added.

Of the seven islets, three islets, which had been damaged in the floods during the monsoon, had been restored by filling up the place with soil and planting saplings to provide the much-needed camouflage for the birds to roost, Mr. Yatish Kumar said.

Meanwhile, many birds have arrived at the sanctuary for roosting. “Usually, the season starts from January and birds remain here till October. December is the lean season but four to five species of migratory birds such as spoonbills, open-billed storks and some other local species are found.

The local species of birds include river tern, egret, cormorant and others. As of now, 8 to 10 species of birds can be seen at the moment,” he said.

The number of arrivals goes up in January and February and as many as 30 species of birds are found during the season that lasts till September-October.

Last year, spot-billed pelicans, which are usually found in Kokkarebellur Bird Sanctuary near Maddur, bred at Ranganatittu. “The birds roost since they get plenty of food, mainly fish, in the surroundings”, he said.

Deputy Conservator of Forests Yatish Kumar told The Hindu that ten new boats had been purchased recently for the convenience of visitors.

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