This is a welcome development, opined avid bird watchers, noting the fall in migrant bird arrival this year. Official sources said they are working on a proposal to improve the connectivity with nearby waterbodies.
The number of migratory birds visiting Vedanthangal recorded a minor dip this year because of the delay in receiving water from Valayapathur lake. It was only after the intervention of Kancheepuram Collector that water was released to Vedanthangal, sources said.
Commenting on the matter, KVRK Thirunaranan, the founder of The Nature Trust and a seasoned bird watcher, said the stakeholders should come out with a policy under which the villagers should not disrupt the natural flow of water towards the marshland and wetlands located inside sanctuaries.
According to official sources, the authorities are working with the Public Works Department on a project to improve the interconnectivity between Vedanthangal – Valayaputhur and Maduranthagam waterbodies for better water conservation. The proposal would soon be sent to the government for approval. A section of foresters and ecologists have opposed the flood alleviation proposal for Velachery, noting that the natural hydrology flow would be affected when drains are directly connected to Okkiyum Madagu bypassing parts of Pallikaranai and Perumbakkam water channels. Meanwhile, after remaining closed since the first phase of lockdown in March, the sanctuaries and tiger reserves opened again on Sunday. Officials said the response from the public has been good in the case of Mudumalai tiger reserve in The Nilgiris but added that most of the wildlife tourist spots were in the restoration phase.
Even as he welcomed the reopening of sanctuaries, Thirunaranan said people should be educated about practising social distancing at national parks and zoos. “We should be careful, as zoonotic infections may easily spread from humans to animals and vice versa,” he said.
Annual Pongal bird count tomorrow
Birdwatchers and ornithologists across the State and Puducherry will take up annual Pongal count at bird sanctuaries and their neighbourhoods on Thursday.
“Pongal bird count (PBC) was started in 2015 and birdwatchers from all over Tamil Nadu and Puducherry are participating in the event. Photographs they take will be uploaded to a common digital platform, ebird,” said biologist P Jeganathan, coordinator, ebird, in a message circulated to birdwatchers. He urged the bird trackers to record the migratory birds as part of the annual Pongal count. “The event is part of a worldwide effort to document birds around the globe and to make birdwatching popular and scientific. Young birdwatchers from The Nature Trust will visit the bird sanctuaries in Chennai, Kancheepuram and Chengalpattu. Our teams have already been assigned for Pallikaranai marshland,” said N Balaji, managing trustee, The Nature Trust.