The damage inflicted on Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary by the incessant turbulence for two weeks in the Cauvery was assessed by a seven-member team on Monday. And according to sources in the Forest Department, it underlined the dire need for revamping and strengthening works in the islands.
The team, comprising forest officials and ornithologists, attempted to enumerate the extent of damage to the bird sanctuary caused by heavy discharge from the Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) reservoir upstream.
The team was headed by Siddaramappa, Divisional Forest Officer (Wildlife, Mysuru division), Range Forest Officer Ananya Kumar, and Subrahmanya, senior ornithologist from New Delhi. The losses were digitally recorded, said a forest official. Experts underlined the urgent need for planting saplings, installing sand bags to prevent soil erosion, and improving the thickness of layers or mud in the islands, among other measures. A report will be prepared and submitted to the State government to formulate a plan.
The islands on the banks of the Cauvery, near Srirangapatna of Mandya district, were submerged between July 14 and 30 owing to heavy flow in the river. Plants and small trees in the islands were uprooted and the sand bags kept on the banks of islands to prevent soil erosion were washed away. The swollen river also took away truckloads of mud from the islands, said senior officials.
Nests, eggs and fledglings of different varieties of ground-nesting birds have also been washed away. The bird sanctuary is a combination of 34 islands, and of them 28 are small in area. They are considered the best and safest place for migratory birds for nesting and breeding. The sanctuary attracts at least 60,000 migratory birds every year.