Rajahmundry: An effort to get Godavari mangroves a world heritage site status has begun with the state government issuing an order constituting an expert panel to come up with a proposal to fulfil the principles and prerequisites required to propose it.
Coringa wildlife sanctuary near Kakinada in East Godavari has an extensive mangrove and dry deciduous tropical forest area spread over in about 235 square kilometers. This is a part of the Godavari estuary and nearly half of the sanctuary area is covered with backwaters.
The sanctuary is being inhabited by nearly 270 species of birds. The forest authorities developed tourism infrastructure like an elevated boardwalk through mangrove forests and boat ride in the backwaters and many people visit.
The state government issued GO RT No. 65 to constitute a seven-member expert panel headed by principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) to study the fulfillment of principles and prerequisites required for proposing the Godavari mangroves and also for preparing the application in full form with all details for declaration of Godavari mangroves as a world heritage site by UNESCO.
The panel is supposed to submit its report with all the information within two months.
The other panel members include: Dr Shanti Priya Pandey, chief conservator of forests, Rajahmundry Circle as vice-chairperson of the panel, AP state biodiversity expert Dr K. Thulasi Rao as member, Dr Ravi Sankar Thupalli, state project co-ordinator, EGREE project as member, Dr P. Chenna Reddy, former director for archaeology and museums as member, Dr K. Sankar, director, Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, Coimbatore as member and Anantha Sankar, divisional forest officer (wildlife) Rajahmundry as member-convener.
The panel members are collecting details at the mangroves to make it eligible to get such status.
Accordingly, they are working on details to prove a cultural link to the mangroves as a large number of fishermen undertake their livelihood at the mangrove forests as they serve as breeding grounds for fish, crabs and others.
The fishermen can adopt traditional practices of catching fish and crabs and sell them to make money to survive.
DFO (Wildlife) Anantha Sankar said, “As the GO was issued recently, the panel members will make a study and collect details to fulfil all requisite conditions and then submit it to the Centre to propose declaring Godavari mangroves as a world heritage site by UNESCO soon.”