THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Here’s a reason for saying no to the controversial Aranmula airport project. A bird census held on January 17 in Pathanamthitta district which covered the wetlands in the project area recorded as many as 1,000 water birds belonging to 22 species.
The Asian Waterfowl census in Pathanamthitta was conducted jointly by the WWF-India (Kerala) and the Social Forestry wing of the Forests and Wildlife Department in five locations: Thonnallur near Pandalam, Karingalipuncha, Aranmula- Nalkalikkal wetlands, River Pampa at Aranmula and Othera- Thiruvamanapuram wetlands.
“The general conclusion of the census reveals a steady total count in the district compared to the previous year. But the sighting of dry habitat species brings a real concern on the increasing temperature in the district,” Renjan Mathew Varghese, state director, WWF-India, said in a statement.
The increased number of Black Kites, a known scavenger, in the River Pampa indicates the increased pollution owing to dumping of poultry waste.
The sighting of Whiskered Terns, generally found in stagnant waters such as paddy fields also were reported from the river, indicating the degradation of the river ecosystem, WWF officials said.
“The wetlands of the district need to be protected for the existence of these birds and thereby the agricultural sector and a sustainable socio-economic status,” WWF-India said.
The census reported the sighting of a Blue Throat, a flock of Glossy Ibis and a dozen Asian Openbills which are commonly found in dry wetlands with high atmospheric temperature.
Maximum headcount was in Karingalipuncha where around 1,200 birds belonging to 33 species were spotted.
Birders from Thonnallur Ela counted approximately 800 birds belonging to 39 species. Around 600 birds were recorded from Othera-Thiruvamanapuram.
Migratory birds such as the Common Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover, Pacific Golden Plover, Green Sandpiper, Whiskered Tern, Glossy Ibis and Black-winged Stilts were reported from these regions.