Andhra Pradesh

Fish species, birds under threat as water level in Kolleru lake drops

Dead birds seized by Forest Department personnel near Mandavalli in Krishna district.—PHOTO: BY ARRANGEMENT  

The decrease in water level in Kolleru lake at Atapaka Bird Sanctuary will result in the death of fish on a large scale and rise in hunting of birds in the lake bed villages, said the Forest Department officials.

With the water levels dipping up to one foot in the 320-acre pond in the lake at Atapaka in Kaikalur mandal, many birds are moving out of the habitat in search of feed. If the same situation continues, the pond will dry up completely during summer, the Wildlife Division authorities of the Forest Department cautioned.

The pond, located between Krishna and West Godavari districts, dried up twice in the last two years and fish worth crores of rupees died due to drop in dissolved oxygen levels in the lake.

Villagers from Komati Lanka and Atapaka caught fish, which was exported to Maharashtra, West Bengal and other States.

“Some hundreds of species of birds are nesting in Atapaka. Colourful birds such as painted storks, grey pelicans, large whistling teals, common teals, black tailed godwits, Northern pintails, Stilts and many water birds roost in the lake and they depend on the fish in Kolleru,” said Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF) of Kaikalur Sub-Division, K. Vinod Kumar.

Recently, the Mandavalli base-camp forest officials arrested three persons for hunting birds at Ingilipaka Lanka village. They seized 42 dead birds from their possession. Earlier too, the authorities booked villagers in Kolleru lake bed villages for hunting birds.

Meat being sold

“The hunters sell birds at Kaikalur, Mandavalli, Mudinepalli, Kalidindi, Akiveedu, Undi, Bhimavaram, Gudivada, Eluru, Palacole, Narsapuram, Ganapavaram and other places. They also sell meat at higher price in villages,” said a local P. Raghavamma.

“There was a great demand for bird meat in hotels on the border villages in Krishna and West Godavari districts. Some hotels are famous for Kolleru fish and bird’s meat,” another villager S. Ramakrishna said. Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Eluru Wildlife Division, P. Sivashankar Reddy, said the decrease in water levels in the lake at Atapaka is disturbing the atmosphere in the sanctuary.

He urged the officials concerned to release water from the Krishna to Atapaka to protect fish and birds in the lake.

“When the water level falls in the pond, villagers enter the lake in huge numbers to catch fish. Then birds which get disturbed fly into open lands and villages, and hunters kill them. If there is no water in the lake, birds will scatter and there is no security for them,” the DFO said.

“Due to less feed, birds are flying away in search for food. If we maintain four-foot water in the pond, we can save fish and birds would not be disturbed from the pond. We are representing the matter to higher officials in Forest Department and also the officials of both the districts,” said Mr. Vinod Kumar.

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Printable version | May 16, 2021 3:19:52 AM |

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