Sunday, January 13, 2013

Drying Gir reservoirs brimming with birds

Drying Gir reservoirs brimming with birds
Divya Bhaskar

The receding water in the Kamleshwar dam brought some good news for visitors and the officials at Gir National Park.The low levels of water is inviting large flocks of winged visitors.These migratory birds are returning to the dams in the national park after a decade,said forest officials.

Sources in Gir said,This year because of the drought in the district,there is hardly two or three feet of water at the edges of the Kamleshwar dam reservoir,and about four or five feet of water in the centre.This is attracting large number of birds from nearby water bodies.Pelicans,lesser flamingos and cranes along with other migratory birds have started flocking to the dam site.

Visitors to the forest along the Kamleshwar dam route,will get to see these winged visitors and large numbers of crocodiles which are now coming out of the water as the water is very shallow.

Sandeep Kumar,the deputy conservator of forests,Gir,says for the past two days,there have been good sightings of birds at the Kamleshwar dam.These bird sighting are for the first time in a decade.I have been told by the staff that these birds have come to the Kamleshwar dam after a long time.There have been sightings of pelican,lesser flamingoes among others.Demoiselle cranes are not usually seen in Gir,but this time because of the less water,availability of food had attracted the birds.This may be good news but what is worrying is that the receding water will force officials to resort to alternate methods of providing drinking water for the lions. Samshad Alam,a researcher working in Gir for the past six years says,I had not seen these birds here thus far,so it came as a surprise when them in large numbers.The dams have now turned into wetlands because of the shallow waters.These waders,pelicans and flamingoes need just nearly two feet of water which,at present,is suitable for these birds.

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