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Forest Department creates island at Ranganathittu

M.T. Shiva Kumar
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The department is also taking steps to prevent soil erosion at the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary near Srirangapatna.
The department is also taking steps to prevent soil erosion at the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary near Srirangapatna.

The Forest Department has created an artificial island at the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary near Srirangapatna for migratory birds.

Ranganathittu is considered to be one of the most suitable places for migratory birds in the State to roost and breed as there is plenty of food supply from the Cauvery.

The bird sanctuary, a combination of six mini islets, is spread over an area of around 40 acres.

It was declared a bird sanctuary in 1940 after noted ornithologist Salim Ali noticed that the islets provided an ideal nesting ground for birds. It attracts no less than three lakh visitors every year.

Winged visitors

The bird sanctuary draws around 60,000 overseas birds every year. The number has been increasing for the past two years owing to drought. An official from the Forest Department said many lakes and tanks in and around Mandya district dried up and the migratory birds had been coming to Ranganathittu for nesting and breeding.

However, they did not find enough space for nesting and breeding and the artificial island was created for the purpose. Sand bags were placed around the island, which will also help prevent soil erosion.

Trees

P. Lakshmeesha, Deputy Range Forest Officer (in-charge of the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary), told The Hindu on Thursday: “The island spreads across an area of around 140 square metres. We have already planted 800 small branches of trees of various species. They will grow in a few years and they will attract birds in the next three years.”

The department has also plans to plant fruit-bearing trees, aromatic plants and a few more species such as the endemic lily Iphigenia mysorensis, Terminalia arjun (Arjun tree), bamboo groves and Pandanus.

The island was created under the ‘Protected Area Development Fund’ at the Forest Department, S. Shekar, Superintendent of Forest (Wildlife), told The Hindu . The department has acquired 7.2 acres attached to Ranganathittu to expand the bird sanctuary.

Arrivals

Officials say that Painted Stork, Pelicans, Common Spoonbills, Asian Open-billed Stork, Indian shag, Kingfisher, Woolly-necked Stork, Black-headed Ibis, Herons, River Tern, Egrets, Lesser Whistling Duck, Great Stone Plover, Oriental Darter and Cormorant are some of the birds that arrive at the mini islets for breeding.

The sanctuary is also home for Flying Fox, Bonnet Macaque, Common Palm Civet, Monitor Lizard, Indian Gray Mongoose, Marsh Crocodile (also known as Mugger Crocodile).


  • It is for creating more space for nesting and breeding of birds

  • Department plans to plant fruit-bearing trees too


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