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Heavy rainfall causes flooding in Ranganathittu bird sanctuary

Special Correspondent

Discharge from the KRS was increased to 93,000 cusecs by Sunday evening



MOVING TO SAFETY: Birds huddle together at a safe height at Ranganathittu bird sanctuary on Monday.

Ranganathittu: Heavy rainfall and copious discharge from the Krishnaraja Sagar since Saturday has flooded the bird sanctuary at Ranganathittu and boating has been cancelled as a precautionary measure.

However, entry of visitors to the bird sanctuary has not been banned and tourists can get a glimpse of birds from the pathways along the periphery of the sanctuary.

Assistant Conservator of Forests Prasanna Kumar told The Hindu that the birds have escaped nature's fury as a large number of chicks had gained enough strength to fly to safety. The situation became precarious on Sunday when the outflow from the KRS was stepped up to nearly 85,000 cusecs. By Sunday evening the inflow was increased to over 93,000 cusecs. As a result, the water-level in the river rose drastically and submerged low-lying fields and flooded the embankments of the six islets that are part of the bird sanctuary.

However, there was no loss of bird life as the breeding season is over and migratory birds will arrive here only in early November. Meanwhile, there is a proposal to increase the height of the embankment of the six islets at Ranganathittu. Mr. Kumar has said that it is a difficult task and the natural topography of the region does not permit such a move. A substantial increase in the water-level is bound to flood the embankments, but this is not a recurring event and happens only once every few years, he added. However, the Forest Department has constantly reinforced the foreshore and the embankment of the islands by placing sandbags and pebbles to minimise erosion.

The bird sanctuary is one of the most popular tourist spots in the State and is rated as among the best in the country.

The season is also considered to be one of the best to view the birds.

The sanctuary attracts nearly 2.8 lakh tourists every year and was formed when Kantirava Narasimharaja Wadiyar constructed an embankment across the Cauvery in 1648.

The sanctuary attracts hundreds of species of birds such as little cormorant, night heron, large cormorant, white ibis, darter, lesser whistling teal, river tern, Indian cliff swallow, spoon-billed stork, painted stork, and pelican.

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