A drive along the State highways now presents a picturesque green cover complete with vibrant flowers and fruits. It is not uncommon to spot groups of birds, monkeys, deer and other species that reflect the thriving biodiversity in Telangana.
The State through its initiatives like the Mission Kakatiya, Mission Bhagiratha, Kaleshwaram Project and Haritha Haram is creating new ecosystems and habitats. Taking up afforestation in degraded forests is paying dividends. The increased green cover is helping the animals in sourcing food as well as in camouflaging and a result increase in numbers.
“The forest area remains the same or in some cases shrinking due to the increase in urbanisation. However, the increase in the tree density is making a pleasant impact,” says K Purushotham, District Forest Officer (DFO), Bhupalapally.
Among other tangible benefits, improving biodiversity has brought back big cats to Bhupalapally after 17 years, says the forest officer. “The reappearance of tiger is possible due to the significant improvement happening in biodiversity,” he adds.
With the green cover rising, it is not difficult now to find Telangana icons –Jinka (Deer), Jammi Chettu (Prosopis Cineraria) and Tangedu (Tanner’s Cassia). However, the fourth icon, the State bird — Palapitta (Indian Roller), needs a trained eye, like Sriram Reddy, a wildlife photographer based in Hyderabad, who clicked it in action in the deep forests of Amrabad Tiger Reserve (ATR).
“Environment is becoming more conducive and as a result more locations are coming into the limelight. There is an increased documentation of the species,” says Sriram, a member of the Hyderabad Birding Pals (HBP).
“Some bird species appear at multiple locations and that strengthens the fact they are proliferating,” he adds.
While clubs like the HBP, Hyderabad Butterflies Conservation Society and others have been helping people explore nature for some time now, new ones like the Oorugallu Wildlife Society (Warangal) and similar ones like Nature Buddy in Adilabad too have come up.
According to Munna Mandhalapu, another wildlife photographer, there is a significant increase in the herbivore population at the ATR. House sparrows are now seen in large numbers. The afforestation drive is also attracting rare owl species like the Dusky Eagle-Owl, which is now a crowd puller at the Pakhal Wildlife Sanctuary.
Thick-billed green pigeon, which is a very rare record in Telangana, and yellow-footed pigeon, too, have been spotted at Pakhal. At the ATR, Munna clicked a leopard.
Sriam stresses on the need to protect habitats like the Narsapur Forest, Ameenpur Lake and Osman Sagar Lake by involving locals.
Lingampalli Krishna, a photojournalist, won laurels from Adilabad district administration for his photos depicting nature in full bloom. “Adilabad is known for the forest cover, waterfalls and picturesque locations. It sees migrating birds coming in from September. In the last five years, there is an increase in the number of bird species. There could be at least 200 species now,” informs Krishna.
G Sailu, who was earlier the State Coordinator of The Telangana Biodiversity Board, says the State is ticking the right boxes in terms of enhancing biodiversity by creating wetland ecosystems. It chose the right tool in creating urban parks.
“Deer, black buck, snakes, frogs, insects, tortoises and others are seeing a rise in their numbers. Many organisms thrive in a wetland ecosystem. Telangana is the best example of that revival happening,” says Sailu, one of the editors of the ‘Telangana State Biodiversity Field Guide’.
Efforts to reduce poaching, reduction in fragmentation of habitat, lowering exploitation of resources, enhancement of tree cover and enhancing local habitats all aid in improving the Biodiversity Index, which for Telangana ranges from 1.97 to 2.87.
“At the current rate of activities and results, it will take four or five years to reach a Biodiversity Index of 3 or 4. A reading of 3 and above indicates a thriving heterogeneity, which is needed for sustainability,” says Dr V Vasudeva Rao, faculty of PJTS Agricultural University who worked on certain projects relating to biodiversity, and whose team gathered data on 572 floral components in about five months from 70 conservation blocks.
Now you can get handpicked stories from Telangana Today on Telegram everyday. Click the link to subscribe.