Crackers-free Deepavali awareness campaign

Crackers-free Deepavali awareness campaign organised at Vagaikulam in Tirunelveli district on Wednesday.

Crackers-free Deepavali awareness campaign organised at Vagaikulam in Tirunelveli district on Wednesday.


As Vagaikulam, by attracting a few thousand birds between October and March every year, has become an upcoming bird habitat of the district after Koonthankulam, the villagers of Vagaikulam and nearby Nanalkulam have vowed to celebrate crackers-free Deepavali this year also.

The Vagaikulam bird habitat is located to West of Alwarkurichi and is close to Vagaikulam and Nanalkulam village under Veerasamudram Panchayat in Ambasamudram Taluk of Tirunelveli district.

Vagaikulam, an irrigation tank that receives water from Ramanadhi dam, has a good number of babul trees planted by Social Forestry Division of Tamil Nadu Forest Department in 1996.

Though a few hundred domestic migratory birds had nested atop these trees, almost 80% of these trees were cut in 2008. Fortunately heavy rains filled the tank to save the remaining 20% of the trees. Thanks to the media intervention, the remaining trees were left untouched.

When Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) conducted a study on wetland birds all over Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi districts and Vagaikulam heronry, it was found that the Vagaikulam bird habitat has got potential to become a bird sanctuary like Koonthankulam in the district.

Hence, ATREE started working with community that lives nearby the Vagaikulam tank and mainly with students on protecting the tank and the trees inside the waterbody.

The Green Brigade student’s forum subsequently formed in the nearby Nanalkulam village monitors the birds nesting in the trees inside Vagaikulam for the last 10 years. So far, 90 bird species have been recorded here of which 20 bird species are nesting in the Babul trees from October to March. On an average 15,000 birds are using these babul trees for nesting and roosting.

Bird species like Black headed Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Night Heron, Indian Cormorant, Little cormorant are nesting here and Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Pintail, Rosy Pastor are the major winter visitors here from Southern Russia. This is the only tank next to Koonthankulam in Tirunelveli district that supports such a large number of water birds for breeding.

To create awareness among Vagaikulam people, ATREE and Sri Paramakalyani Centre for Environmental Sciences (SPKCES) of Manonmaniam Sundaranar University jointly organised crackers-free Deepavali awareness campaign at Vagaikulam on Wednesday in which more than 100 students from the SPKCES participated in the rally, which was followed by an awareness skit.

An awareness puppet show by Kalaiselvan and Ramachandram from GVN College, Kovilpatti highlighted the importance of green cracker-free Deepavali and birds’ conservation.

The rally was flagged off by Murugaiah, Block Development Officer, Kadayam Union in the presence of G. S. Vijayalakshmi, District Coordinator, National Green Corps, A.G. Murugesan, Senior Professor of SPKCES, Subbiah, Headmaster, Government Primary School, Vagaikulam, M. Sundaram, Special Officer, Sri Paramakalyani School and T. Ganesh, Senior Fellow from ATREE.

This year, with the onset of monsoon, already hundreds of Black headed Ibis have started nesting in the tank and residents of Vaagaikulam took pledge to take all steps needed for the protection of these winged visitors.

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Printable version | Aug 26, 2022 12:18:13 am |