The ecologically important Kazhuveli wetlands in Villupuram district is the 16th bird sanctuary in Tamil Nadu.
In a government order, Environment and Forests Secretary Supriya Sahu has declared the creation of Kazhuveli bird sanctuary on Monday.
An area of 5,151.60 hectares in Vanur and Marakkanam taluks have been combined to create the sanctuary.
According to the government notification, the area of Kazhuveli brackish water lake wetlands in Nadukuppam, Seyyankuppam, Chettikuppam, Anumandai, Urani, Keelputhupattu, Koonimedu, Thiruakkanur villages in Marakkanam taluk and Kilapakkam, Kozhuvari, Kazhuperumbakkam, Karattai and Devanandal villages of Vanur taluk will together form the sanctuary. An area of 3,027.25 hectares comprising eight villages in Marakkanam taluk and 2,124.35 hectares in five villages in Vanur form part of the sanctuary. The area has adequate ecological, faunal, floral and geomorphological significance for the purpose of protecting, propagating and developing wildlife and its environment.
The tank lies adjacent to the the Bay of Bengal along the East Coast, the notification said. “As many as 13 villages fall under the sanctuary. Kazhuveli is a wetland of international importance on the East Coast and the declaration has come as a shot in the arm for the Forest Department’s initiatives to protect and develop its surrounding environment,” said a Forest Department official. S. Vimalraj, a naturalist of Puducherry-based Indigenous Biodiversity Foundation (IBF), said, “With the creation of Kazhuveli bird sanctuary, a long-pending demand has finally attained fruition. The place is home to a diverse species of flora and fauna and is a feeding ground for long-distance migrants from the cold subarctic regions of Central Asia and Siberia including Black-tailed Godwits, Eurasian Curlew, White Stork and Ruff.” Spread over 670 sq. km of catchment areas, the Kazhuveli wetlands is said to be the second largest brackish water lake in South India after Pulicat lake.
“The creation of the sanctuary will now ensure better protection of the wetlands,” he added.