Tirunelveli: Bird count in southern districts disproves eco damage charge

Deccan Chronicle.  | M. ARULOLI

Nation, Current Affairs

Divided into five teams, each was led by an experienced birder.

In total, about 14664 birds were counted at about 20 different locations in the region including at Manakudy, (Image: DC)

Tirunelveli: Spiking popular perception that the Kudankulam nuclear power project and the beach mineral mining industry have severely damaged the coastal eco system of Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari districts, the bird count in the region has increased to testify to the fact that neither the nuclear power station at Kudankulam nor the beach mineral mining industry has a malignant effect on the existing coastal eco-system.

The number of bird species count has been found to have increased to 146 in the Kudankulam bird count -2019 (KKBC 2019) programme organized by the Pelican Nature Club of the Kudankulam nuclear power project on February 9.  In total, about 14664 birds were counted at about 20 different locations in the region including at Manakudy,

Puthalam, Swamithope, Suchindram, Rajakkamangalam, Koonthankulam, Kaadankulam, Nanguneri, Anu Vijay Township and the Kudankulam nuclear power project site, according to R S Sawant, president of the Pelican Nature Club, which was formed under the aegis of NPCIL’s Environment Stewardship Programme (ESP).

Conducted under the guidance of  Dr S Balachandran, Deputy Director of the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), around 70 bird enthusiasts, including members of the Pelican Natural Club are said to have taken part in the KKBC-2019.  Divided into five teams, each was led by an experienced birder.

The teams visited their respective predefined transects, essentially important birding spots along the Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli coast and recorded the sighting of bird species.

The third episode of the annual bird count of the KKBC reportedly recorded an increase in the number of bird species to 146, which included the sighting of twelve new species that were not found in previous years, according to the president of KKBC.  “In Anu Vijay Township (a residential township of KKNPP officials) alone, 84 species of birds were recorded to have been sighted,” according to Sanjay Kumar, KKNPP site director.

 The sighting of rare bird species like the Oriental Darter, Painted Stork, Wooly-necked Stork, Spot-billed Pelican, Oriental Dollarbird, White-bellied Sea Eagle and Grey-headed Fish Eagle during the annual bird count in the Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari coasts has grossly disproved the complaint that the nuclear power project and beach mineral mining, the two major industries, have severely damaged the environment.

The number of bird species spotted in the region has recorded a gradual increase as it was recorded to be around 118 in 2017 and 134 in 2018.

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