CHENNAI: After Vandalur Zoo, Forest officials have shifted their focus to the lesser-known Nanmangalam reserve forest, where they are making arrangements to quench the thirst of birds during Agni Natchathiram, the hottest period of the year. Officials in-charge of the 860-acre forest in Medavakkam, which is home to over 80 species of native birds, have constructed two big percolation ponds to help the winged residents beat the heat.
“These ponds will help the rainwater to percolate on the surface, and will cater to the needs of birds and plants during the hot summer, when birds find it tough to find water,” said N Krishnakumar, the Forest Range Officer.
The 25-feet long and eight-feet wide ponds have been constructed over a period of three months from January this year with financial assistance from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).
In addition to the percolation ponds, the officials have utilised the NABARD funds to plant 5,000 saplings on bunds to aid water retention inside the ponds.
“Normally, nobody grows plants on the bunds. This will also help the plant grow easily and keep the environment cool,” said forest guard A Perumal, pointing at one of the saplings.
The forest also has 546 other trees and plants which have been grown using funds from the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) — an initiative by the Centre to promote afforestation activities.
The newly set up ponds will decrease the work load of the officials as they earlier had to travel one-and-a half kilometres to a nearby quarry to fetch water, Krishnakumar said. Each pond can store about 20,000 litres of water for at least three months. “All this water and greenery will help keep the environment cool during summer and attract more native bird species,” Perumal pointed out.