Hindustan Times (Lucknow)

Painted storks’ population at Udpuria Lake drops drasticall­y

Experts blame official apathy and lack of appropriat­e measures for decline in numbers, demand conservati­on reserve status for the lake

- Aabshar Quazi

KOTA: Udpuria Lake in Digod tehsil of Kota district is famous for being one of the biggest habitats of painted storks in Rajasthan. However, their population has remained just one-fifth of what it was in 2013. Experts blame lack of interest in their conservati­on and apathy towards the lake for the decreasing numbers of the bird.

The picturesqu­e Udpuria Lake, which generally remains abuzz with chirping of around 250 pairs of painted storks every year, is considerab­ly quiet this year as only around 50 pairs of the bird are visible on few juliflora trees.

Not only the birds but even juliflora trees, on which the storks make their nests, have reduced significan­tly over the years.

Wildlife expert and tourism promoter Abdul Haneef Zaidi told HT that he was shocked to see such less numbers of resident painted storks at Udpuria Lake this year.

Apathy of the administra­tion towards the Udpuria Lake has led to the decline in number of juliflora trees, emergence of weed in the lake and absence of fish. All these factors are important for survival of the storks, said Zaidi, adding that stray cattle can be seen grazing in and around the lake.

Painted storks’ breeding season starts from August to October, in which over 250 nests are seen every year, but this year only around 40-50 nests of storks have been seen, he alleged. “Ignorance of developmen­t of ecotourism at the Udpuria Lake has led to this situation,” he said.

President of Kite Conservati­on Club, Kota, Shakir Ali said the demand for declaring Udpuria Lake as a conservati­on reserve is being made from long but nothing has been done so far. “If the lake is developed as a conservati­on reserve, it would facilitate funds for plantation of more trees for nesting the storks, conservati­on of the lake etc,” he said. The conservati­on reserve status would also help develop amenities like benches and watch towers, he asserted.

 ?? HT PHOTO ?? A painted stork at Udpuria Lake, in Kota.
HT PHOTO A painted stork at Udpuria Lake, in Kota.

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