Karnataka

Bird habitats under threat identified in Bidar

The Ruddy turnstone is a migratory bird found in Karanja reservoir backwaters in Bidar that is under threat. Photo: Special arrangement  

A recent meeting of bird watchers in Bidar has identified some bird habitats that are under threat from destruction of water bodies, deforestation and real estate development in the district.

The backwaters of the Karanja reservoir that host thousands of migratory and other birds have become a hunting ground for miscreants. Hunters lay nets or shoot birds, injuring and killing birds. Even the rare ones are not spared.

“This has not stopped even after local wildlife enthusiasts complained to the authorities concerned. The backwaters cover a semi-circular area of over 30 kilometres; there are several shrubs, grass lands and tall trees along it. Sometimes, the whole area remains submerged and villagers move away. During other years, the area becomes marshy land and farmers and hunters come back,” said Vivek Krishnamurthy, Bidar-based wildlife enthusiast, who attended the meeting.

The biggest threat is to the grasslands bordering the Chitta forest. They are home to blackbucks and many exotic bird species, such as Great Indian Bustard and Lesser Florican.

While some parts are being developed into residential layouts, some land is lost to the Ring Road. Industries are being set up in portions and laterite mining is lapping up some of the area. These activities should be stopped to protect the grasslands, said Abhishek Chintamani, another bird watcher. Even a natural spring in the area is threatened as the inflow channels are being blocked, he added. On a positive note, they identified at least 120 types of birds, including some rare species like Great Indian Bustard and the Lesser florican, Grey wagtail and Barn swallow, Green sandpiper and Ruddy turnstone.

As many as 14 bird watchers from various organisations and from other cities were present at the meeting. Mr. Krishnamurthy and Mr. Chintamani said they will submit a memorandum to the district administration, seeking protection of the habitats, besides sending a documented list of birds in the district to the forest department.

Deputy Commissioner Anurag Tewari said the district administration was keen on protecting the area. “We have surveyed the land and found out that some of it is revenue land, some was given away to the Industries Department, while a portion of it is forest land. We are considering asking the Industries Department to develop it into a park or green space, not allowing setting up of industries or developing a park or bio reserve jointly with the city municipal council and forest department. We may even consider transferring the land to the Indian Air Force and ask them to protect it as grassland,” he said.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2021 6:26:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/Bird-habitats-under-threat-identified-in-Bidar/article14581946.ece

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