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Villagers come to the aid of Uppalapadu bird sanctuary

Jayaraj Manepalli

Committee formed to help preserve biodiversity in the village


  • Number of birds touches 20,000 during peak season
  • Birds can also be spotted throughout the year
  • Spotted pelicans, painted storks among the attractions
  • Portion of tank left for exclusive use of birds



    WELCOME BREAK: Painted storks rest their wings at Uppalapadu bird sanctuary. — Photo: Vijaya Bhaskar

    GUNTUR: The Uppalapadu bird sanctuary in Guntur district will get a new lease of life soon, as villagers have finally formed a committee to help preserve biodiversity and develop the village without affecting the visiting birds.

    The committee was formed on July 3 and forest officials are overjoyed at the outcome. "This was possible due to several months of efforts by environmental activists, forest officials and district administration," said the District Forest Officer, K. Gopinatha.

    The next step was to pass a resolution in the committee declaring the area `Community Wildlife Reserve' and that the involvement of locals in environmental protection was assured. All the villagers, despite their numerous differences in opinion, get united whenever the issue of protecting the avifauna comes up.

    "When the area is declared a community reserve by the committee, the Government can pump in money for the development of the place through various schemes under the State and Central Governments. The Tourism Department, Ministry of Environment and Forests and the district administration can pool up their resources," said the district Collector, G. Jayalakshmi.

    Uppalapadu, located 10 km from Guntur, is a bird sanctuary, home to 60 species of migratory birds. The number of birds touches 20,000 during the peak season -- between September and February. Some of the attractive species include spotted pelican, painted stork, white ibis, heron and cormorant. Migratory birds like Rosy Pastor travel hundreds of kilometres to come to this place, said the Conservator of Forests, Guntur circle, D. Nalini Mohan.

    The unique aspect of this place is that the birds can be spotted throughout the year. The number of birds inhabiting this small stretch of land of four-and-half acres also makes it one of the densest areas occupied by birds at any given time, anywhere in India, according to K. Mrutyunjaya Rao, honorary wildlife warden of Guntur district.

    The villagers have been magnanimous enough to give up a portion of the village pond to the birds. A bund separates the village water source from that meant for the birds. The 6,000 plus villagers have been united in their efforts to welcome the winged visitors from distant lands, which were making Uppalapadu a place to reckon with, on the wildlife map of India.

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