The habitat of Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary under major threat

Published on : Saturday, January 23, 2021

The habitat of Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Thattekad, Kerala, is currently facing a major challenge from grazing, fuel-wood collection and invasive species, as per the recent evaluation report.

Human-wildlife conflict, particularly involving wild boar and birds, has developed a detrimental effect about the sanctuary among the local villagers. There are human habitations in almost one-third of the sanctuary, which alarm serious concerns to the management, as per the report prepared by the Union Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change and Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun.

In this protected area, the pressure of tourism is high and it at times disturbs sensitive species like the Ceylon frogmouth.

The report mentions that the presence of tourism infrastructure, like homestays, within the protected area has become a matter of concern.

The bird sanctuary in the foothills of the Western Ghats is the home of a large number of mammalian, reptilian, amphibian, and fish species, including endemic ones. The wide array of 234 bird species was recorded in the sanctuary. The report evaluated the sanctuary as very good in regard to management effectiveness, with a score of 77.5%.

Of the protected area, the panel suggested the ‘rationalisation of boundaries’ and wanted the ‘inclusion of private lands in the sanctuary’ to be reviewed.

Adequate mechanisms shall be put in place to keep an eye on the rare and endangered species, as well as threatened ones and the special habitats and unique species at the sanctuary.

Stringent steps shall be introduced to lessen human-wildlife conflicts. Availability of water in aquatic habitats shall be made sure for the wetland-dependent wildlife, the report suggested. Also, the panel called for technically sound anti-poaching, patrolling, and perambulation activities and their linkage with the GPS-based tracking system. The possibility of obtaining CSR funds shall be explored, it proposed.

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