Ex­o­dus at Rol­la­padu

Why are birds aban­don­ing the Rol­la­padu Wildlife Sanc­tu­ary in Andhra Pradesh? PRASHANTH M B, VIKRAM ADITYA & T GANESH |

Down to Earth - - WILDLIFE -

THE GRASS­LANDS around Rol­la­padu, a vil­lage in Andhra Pradesh’s Kurnool district, was de­clared a sanc­tu­ary in 1988 to pro­tect the dwin­dling pop­u­la­tions of the crit­i­cally en­dan­gered Great In­dian Bus­tard. The bus­tard in­hab­its dry and semi-arid re­gions of the coun­try which hold nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring grass­lands and sa­van­nahs. The de­ci­sion to de­clare it as a sanc­tu­ary was also to pre­serve the Rol­la­padu grass­lands, which are crit­i­cal for the sur­vival of semi-arid and grass­land fauna in the Dec­can re­gion. Such grass­lands, as part of pro­tected ar­eas, oc­cupy much less than one per cent of the to­tal land area of the coun­try, but are home to many threat­ened fauna such as black­buck, flor­i­cans, har­ri­ers, wolves and dis­tinct plant com­mu­ni­ties. A guard who has lived in the sanc­tu­ary since it got the pro­tected sta­tus rec­ol­lects hav­ing spot­ted half-a-dozen bus­tards, many breed­ing pairs and soli­tary birds in the sanc­tu­ary area about 15 years ago.

But to­day, bird species that were ex­tremely com­mon ear­lier are rarely spot­ted in Rol­la­padu. For­est of­fi­cials say they are hardly able to spot the bus­tards once or twice a year. Not just the Great In­dian Bus­tard, Mon­tagu’s har­rier—a mag­nif­i­cent mi­gra­tory bird that trav­els from parts of cen­tral Asia to the sanc­tu­ary ev­ery win­ter— has also shown de­clin­ing trends of its pres­ence. Two decades ago, the bird vis­ited the sanc­tu­ary in hun­dreds, ac­cord­ing to a study by the Bom­bay Nat­u­ral His­tory So­ci­ety. In 2016, their recorded num­bers had dropped to just about 50-75.

It is rare to spot a Great In­dian Bus­tard in the Rol­la­padu Wildlife Sanc­tu­ary

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.