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Migratory birds flock to Vettangudi sanctuary

By C. Jaishankar

KARAIKUDI, NOV. 8. The Vettangudi Bird Sanctuary, situated near Tirupattur in Sivaganga district, one of the popular bird sanctuaries in the State, has received thousands of migratory birds from foreign countries, thanks to perfect onset of the northeast monsoon.

Though, thesanctuary attracts birds from many countries during October, November and December every year, this year the number is unprecedented. It has attracted more tourists following large congregation of birds.

Trees in the 34.4-hectare sanctuary have turned as `safest' breeding and feeding ground for endangered species. The birds have created hundreds of nests on the trees. The current temperature of 30 to 35 degree Celsius helped them to enjoy the surroundings.

The wildlife warden of the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve, V. Naganathan, who completed the census of birds, told The Hindu that so far the sanctuary had attracted more than 8,000 birds belonging to 217 species, mostly from the European and North Asian countries. The species included white ibis, open billed stork and night heron.

It also attracted indigenous, endangered species such as painted stork, grey heron, darter, little cormorant, little egret, intermediate egret, cattle egret, cotton teal, spot bills, pintail and flamingos.

Mutual protection

He said the large congregation of birds offered advantages of mutual protection from enemies and finding mates easily for reproduction. During this season, the birds would select mates, build nests, incubate and hatch eggs. After the season, the birds would migrate to their usual destinations.

Mr. Naganathan said hundreds of migratory birds had also come to Chitrankudi, Kanjirankulam and Melaselvanur sanctuaries in Ramanathapuram district.

Funds for infrastructure

The Government had allotted Rs. 9 lakhs for the Vettangudi Sanctuary to improve infrastructure for tourists. Facilities would also be provided for birds.

A sum of Rs. 6 lakhs had been allotted to provide infrastructure in the Chitrankudi, Kanjirankulam and Melaselvanur sanctuaries.

The Forest department had stepped up vigil in all sanctuaries to prevent bird hunting. Officials warned that strict action would be taken against hunters.

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