BENGALURU: The efforts of wildlife rescuers Rashmi Mavinkurva and Somu H N to save an Oriental darter whose beak was entangled in a fishing net went in vain when they could not locate the bird. What’s worse, they came across another bird in similar situation that had succumbed to its injuries.
Mavinkurva and Somu, members of Share Habitat, took up the task of rescuing the darter at Harohalli lake on Kanakpura Road after a photograph of the bird, shot by TNIE’s photographer Pandarinath B, was published in the July 19 edition of the newspaper. Upon seeing the photograph, the two rescuers reached the lake, located 35 km from Bengaluru, on Friday at 11am, and went on to look out for the Oriental darter.
Mavinkurva and Somu carried the necessary equipment to rescue the bird in boats and searched for three hours for the bird but were unable to spot it. They did, however, spot a black cormorant bird instead, whose neck was also entangled by a fishing net. The duo immediately stopped the boat but were shocked to see that the bird was dead. “It looked like it died four days back. I wish we had come here earlier,” said Mavinkurve.
According to her, fishing nets were stranded alongside the river and on the lake bed too. The locals the rescuers spoke to confirmed that many people carry out fishing activities at the lake. The team even spotted plastic bottles, wine bottles, snack packets and other wrappers dumped near the lake. They also disclosed that sewage was entering the lake, due to which the lake had a foul smell.
“We then spoke to the locals and brought in awareness about the perils of dumping plastic near the lake and asked them to avoid using fishing nets,” said Mavinkurve, adding that they left after burying the bird. She also pointed out that they spotted various birds, like painted stork, cormonent, greens, purple heron and Oriental darter, which are quite rare in Bengaluru. While the team could not find the Oriental darter, they were happy they could spread awareness about using fishing nets. “Hopefully our initiative will prevent other birds from meeting the same fate as the black cormorant bird,” said Somu.