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Mandagadde sanctuary plays host to special guests

Pramod Mellegatti

THE HINDU

Visit: Every June, three types of migratory birds flock to the Mandagadde sanctuary in Shimoga.

SHIMOGA: The Mandagadde Bird Sanctuary, about 30 km from here, is once again playing host to several special guests. Every June, three types of migratory birds, the median egret, darter and little cormorant, flock to the lush green environs of the sanctuary and stay till December.

Mandagadde sanctuary is one of the 20 important sanctuaries in the country and attracts tourists in large numbers between July and September. According to the local people, several birds have laid eggs on an island in the sanctuaryThe birds prefer the top branches of the trees for nesting as the island is partially submerged by the swollen river during monsoon. The birds feed on fish in the river and insects and crabs in the nearby paddy fields.

The State Government had included the sanctuary in the rehabilitation programme during the implementation of the Upper Tunga Project (UTP). It sanctioned Rs. 20 lakh that was handed over to the Forest Department in 1994 to ensure that the birds were safe. But the Forest Department failed to take any initiative to check the island from being submerged during rain.

Sources in the Irrigation Department said that the development of the sanctuary was the duty of the Forest Department.

The forest officials said that they would undertake the work after completion of the remaining works of the UTP.

The sanctuary is facing problems such as water flowing over the protection wall. Local people said Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, who holds the Forest portfolio, should take interest in developing the sanctuary as a major tourist attraction.

In 1999, birds, nests and eggs were washed away in floods, local people said. They also added that poachers took away many birds as the security was poor.

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