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Three lakes of Mysore on IBAN list

By R. Krishna Kumar

MYSORE, MARCH 9. Three lakes in Mysore figure in the list of important wetlands of the State and have been classified under Important Bird Area Network (IBAN) as priority site for conservation by Birdlife International of U.K.

Spread over 100 countries, Birdlife International has included Kukkarahalli, Karanji and Lingambudhi lakes in Mysore in the list of 38 important conservation sites in the State. There are nearly a dozen sites within a few kilometres from Mysore, which harbour varied species of birds and have been declared priority conservation area sites. These include the Krishnarajasagar backwaters, Kokkrebellur, Melkote Temple Wildlife Sanctuary, Sulekere, Ranganathittu, Bandipur, Nagarahole and Kunthur-Kollur lakes in Yellandur in Chamarajanagar district.

Rare book

K. Manu of Mysore Amateur Naturalists (MAN) told The Hindu that the Birdlife International took MAN's inputs to classify these lakes. All these sites have been included in the newly published book, The IBA in India: Priority Site for Conservation, published jointly by the Birdlife International and the Bombay Natural History Society.

In all, 465 wetlands in the country have been identified by Birdlife International through data and inputs provided by nearly 70 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working in the field and these now constitute a reliable and scientific database on conservation issues.

Action plan needed

The next course is to prepare an action plan with the help of local NGOs, according to Mr. Manu. This is said to be the first time that the species have been documented and are available for researchers and ornithologists.

Mr. Manu said this will help formulate conservation strategies in different areas as every wetland has its own set of problems that require area-specific solutions. Although the voluminous publication is priced at Rs. 3,000, plans are afoot to bring out State-specific editions. It may be a matter of pride for Mysore that there are three major wetlands in the heart of the city harbouring biodiversity and a rich variety of birds attracting international attention. But experts have cautioned against complacency. No wetland in Mysore, or for that matter anywhere in India, is free from threats of human interference.

While international agencies are looking at conservation of wetlands to save birds, the scenario in India presents a gloomy picture calling for urgent remedial action and the lakes of Mysore are not an exception to this.

Although Karanji and Kukkarahalli lakes have been taken up for conservation by the Mysore zoo and the University of Mysore respectively, threats have not decreased. At Kukkarahalli, the construction of a new bund along the shore of the water body has disturbed the habitat and the migratory birds have depleted in numbers.

Preliminary census

A preliminary winter waterfowl census shows that of the 66 species of birds observed last year, only 28 are listed this year. This has been attributed to human presence.

Although MAN and other NGOs cautioned against construction of the new walkway or a bund near the bird islands in the lake, the authorities persisted with it leading to mass migration of birds. The lake supports over 200 species of birds.

The Lingambudhi Lake harbours over 200 species of birds during monsoon but is facing threats because of encroachment and human interference calling for remedial action.

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