MYSURU: Forest department officials along with 75 birdwatchers, wildlife photographers and volunteers conducted a bird census in Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary here on Sunday. This is the first time the department did the exercise in the sanctuary, which is spread across 67 hectares including 25 islands, and is home to nearly 220 bird species.
V Yedukondalu, Deputy Conservator of Forests (Mysuru Wildlife Division), informed media persons that 13 boats were used to conduct the census, and that it was done to get the sanctuary the international Ramsar Convention tag. “We will announce the report of the bird census soon,” he said.
“The recognition will help get more funds from various agencies for the conservation of the sanctuary. During the census, experts counted the number of migratory and resident birds present in the sanctuary,” he said.
“We are sure Ranganathittu will be the first sanctuary in the state to be recognised by Ramsar Convention. Presently, 26 wetlands in the country are on this list,” he added.
One of the main criteria for Ramsar Convention to consider a wetland is that it should be home to at least one per cent of the world’s population of a particular bird species. “Ranganathittu will pass that since, of the world’s 17,000 painted storks, we have 1,000 here. Also, 200 crocodiles live here,” he said.
Once Ranganathittu gets the RC tag, the sanctuary will get global recognition, and experts including ornithologists and botanists will help the department conserve and develop the sanctuary. “A number of research works on different species of birds will be conducted after obtaining Ramsar Convention tag,” he added.
The officer revealed that after a week, another survey on the different fish species and aquatic animals in Ranganathittu will be conducted with the assistance of the fisheries department.