Biodiversity Board seeks to protect bird sanctuary

Biodiversity Board seeks steps to protect Gudavi bird sanctuary

The sanctuary hosts 15,000 birds during the monsoon-winter period, some of which fly in from other countries

Karnataka’s largest bird sanctuary at Gudavi in Shivamogga district is facing a threat due to deterioration of wetland, absence of supervision, and overuse of pesticides in the surrounding areas even as the lack of basic infrastructure has kept officials away.

The Karnataka Biodiversity Board has submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, stating that the fence, mesh, and other protective barriers erected around the 182.06-acre sanctuary have fallen to disrepair, requiring urgent a plan for a complete restoration.

The sanctuary hosts 15,000 birds during the monsoon-winter period, some of which fly in from other countries. Birds belonging to 217 subspecies have been recognised in the sanctuary. However, the rich biodiversity is being eroded, the memorandum said.

It said that the sanctuary, initially notified in 1989, also requires its wetland. The increase in the use of pesticides is threatening the sanctuary, it said and expressed concern over the monkey menace disturbing birds. 

Chairman of the Board Anant Hegde Ashisar said that one of the first steps needed to improve the sanctuary was to ensure necessary payments and facilities to the lower-rung staff working there. 

He also sought basic infrastructure to encourage tourism activities.

“Information centre, canteen, toilet, and other necessary infrastructure should be built while guarding against unnecessary concretisation. Activities like boating, which affect the movement of the birds, should not be allowed,” he stated.

The memorandum said a study needs to be undertaken to assess the quality of water flowing into the sanctuary as well as the silt formed in its lake.