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Conservation reserve planned in Tirunelveli village

Staff Reporter


TIRUNELVELI: : Tirunelveli district is all set to have a `conservation reserve' at Thiruppudaimaruthur, 40 km from here, to preserve birds visiting this sleepy hamlet close to the Thamirabarani during a particular season for breeding.

The idea of developing `community reserves' and `conservation reserves' to protect wildlife on private land or trees in a village was conceived in 2003. An amendment was made to Rule 36 of the Wildlife Act in the same year. Since these novel schemes involve more public participation, protecting the wildlife in private land will be easier, say forest managers.

While the `community reserve' deals with the conservation of the wildlife on private land, the `conservation reserve' will help to protect birds and animals living in trees or forests close to villages. Though the `community reserve' will be managed by land owners with the guidance of Forest Department officials, the `conservation reserve' will be managed by a committee, comprising representatives of the public, the Forest Department, non-governmental organisations, scientists, the MLA and the panchayat president.

Since the 25-odd huge jaumoon plum, south Indian mahua and marudhu trees at Thiruppudaimaruthur attract a significant number of birds, particularly Painted Storks and White Egrets, every year, the Forest Department has decided to implement the scheme at this village. The village, which so far witnessed 200 nesting a year, had 400 nests this year.

"Buoyed by the participation of the villagers, we have decided to spend Rs. 1 lakh this year, planting more saplings, conducting an awareness campaign at and around the village and taking the villagers to Koonthankulam on an exposure visit. We are determined to make this area another Koonthankulam through this project," District Forest Officer H. Venu Prasad, an enthusiastic bird watcher, told The Hindu . The panchayat administration, which has banned bursting of crackers, has kept ready more than eight cages in the village to keep the young birds accidentally falling off the nests. These chicks are being fed with fish. Maadakkannu, a temple watchman, daily feeds eight kg of fish to 11 chicks. Though these baby birds hop around on the roads, none harms them.

The department, which has planned to conduct the first meeting of the Thiruppudaimaruthur Conservation Reserve Management Committee on May 21, has decided to tie plastic rings around the necks of the birds to find out whether they visit the village next year too.

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