Jayashankar Bhupalpally: Endowed with the rich diversity of flora and fauna, Jayashankar Bhupalpally district is a perfect natural habitat for the various species of the birds. However, the ever-increasing use of the land for cultivation, insensitive attitude of some people towards the wildlife, poaching and hunting are posing a great threat to the birds that play a key role in the functioning of the ecosystems.
In a fresh incident that exhibited the barbaric attitude of the poachers, a branch of a tree was cut though the Egrets were nesting on it, and nearly 30 Egrets including the baby Egrets were taken away by the poacher at Mallaram village of Malhar Rao mandal in the interior parts of the district on Monday. Saddened by the sight of the fallen tree, wildlife enthusiast and birder Ch Shyam Sunder who is also the founder of the Orugallu Wildlife Society (OWLS) has tried to trace the culprit by inquiring with the locals about the whereabouts of the poacher, but to no avail.
“While there nearly 100 birds (Little egrets and Cattle egrets), the poacher had taken about 30 birds with him by just cutting a branch with an axe,” Shyam Sunder lamented and added that he had tried to inform the matter to the local Forest Beat Officer (FBO) Prem Kumar, but the latter had not responded to his calls and messages. Shyam Sunder, who frequently visits the Mallaram and its surrounding areas for birding, said that he had found many species of the birds including the migratory birds of the storks family that visit the Boggulavagu project (Dam) about 17 away from Mallaram village.
“Since Mallaram is my uncle’s village, I come here often. Moreover, it is a perfect destination for birders and wildlife enthusiasts,” he added. One can visit this place from March to August to find various species of the birds. He has got stunning photographs of the variety of species of the families of Munia, ducks, owls, eagles, cuckoos, egrets and others.
“I have also captured a Short-toed Snake Eagle recently,” he said and urged the forest officials to take steps for the protection and conservation of the rich biodiversity in the district.
Several spectacular birds, many of them endemic to the sub-continent, face a growing threat from loss of habitat due to human activity, the widespread presence of toxins including pesticides, hunting and trapping for the pet trade. For every bird species that were found to be increasing in numbers over the long term, 11 have suffered losses, some catastrophically, according to the State of India’s Birds 2020 (SoIB) assessment.
Meanwhile, former DFO K Purushotham said that the Forest Department needs to check the poaching of the birds as there are people of certain communities who still eat the birds by hunting as they are ‘traditional poachers’. “We need to create awareness among the people and sensitise them,” he added. When contacted Bhupalpally District Forest Officer (DFO) over the poaching of the Egrets at Mallaram village, B Lavanya said, “We will get it enquired and take all steps from our side to prevent hunting and punish the culprits.”
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