Monday, March 27, 2006

Proposal to convert wetlands into bird conservation zones

Proposal to convert wetlands into bird conservation zones
Vijay Times

Bangalore: Bird lovers in the City will have much to cheer for if the idea envisaged by the F orest department fructifies.

In order to protect the water bird population in the city , the department has mooted an idea of declaring certain wetlands in the city as bird conservation zones.

The idea, a first of its kind, will not only help in improving the bird habitat in the City , but enable bird lovers to participate in conservation programmes.

"The City’s wetlands have a huge potential in sustaining the bird population, but no effort is made in conserving the wetlands. Now , under a new scheme of the Wildlife Act, there is a provision to declare some places outside national parks and sanctuaries as bird zones," A K V arma, Principal Chief Conservator of F orests told Vijay T imes.

The forest department has already begun work in this direction. Work on mapping of the wetlands where the birds arrive, has begun, while bird-rich areas like Madivala lake, Puttenhalli lake, Jakkur and Byramangala lake which attract thousands of birds are being monitored.

"W e will submit the proposal to the government regarding these zones shortly ," said V arma.

Once the water bodies are declared as conservation zones, they will be brought under legal pro visions and developed to protect the landscape and the flora and fauna of the lakes and surrounding areas.

A committee of volunteers comprising of the locals, non-government agencies and bird lovers will be roped in for the management.

The committee will be responsible for protecting, maintaining and managing these water bodies, with funding from the forest department. While the Lake Development Authority (LDA) will conduct the repair and restoration work of the lake, NGOs and bird watchers will monitor the birds, their arrival and return.

"Apart from conducting a census, we need to have a data on the birds for scientific study , " explained V arma.

He said the process does not involve much cost as the lakes are in a good shape due to the work already undertaken by the LDA. One hitch: the conservation programme requires a sum of Rs 5-10 lakh rupees annually .T ime for the government to respond.


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