Flamingo City, Kutch

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Kutch's Flamingo City is in peril

Himanshu Kaushik The Times of India Nov 17 2014 Ahmedabad:

Flamingo City, Kutch
From: Himanshu Kaushik The Times of India Nov 17 2014

Flamingo City in Kutch — the only breeding site for flamingoes in Asia and home to over 1.5 lakh birds through the year — is in danger.

According to a document, ‘Important Bird Areas (IBA) in Danger’, released by the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), Flamingo City tops the list of 10 bird colonies across India that are under threat.

While multiple factors have contributed, alarm bells rang out over the 262-km-long road that was given the goahead in the first meeting of the National Board for Wildlife (NBW) chaired by PM Narendra Modi. Experts warn that vehicular traffic on the road, which will cut through the sanctuary, will cause disturbance in the breeding colony.

Dr Raju Kasambe, project manager, IBA, says the road will sound the death knell for the breeding site. “The government has proposed that the road is crucial to facilitat ing the movement of the Border Security Force in this region that falls on the Indo-Pakistan border. However, the BSF uses an existing road. The Gujarat government is using the BSF as a cover to promote and expand tourism in the region.” Kasambe said a highway through the region will also disturb other species, including the Indian Wild Ass, Great Indian Bustard, Indian Wolf and Caracal. Curiously, the three-member team of the NBW sent before the formation of the Modi government had also warned of the serious repercussions of the road passing through Flamingo City.

Experts say apart from destruction of habitat due to infrastructure development, indiscriminate agricultural expansion, rampant use of pesticides and poaching are other factors threatening the flamingos. In 2011, about 400 flamingos in the sanctuary were electrocuted after they came in contact with high tension wires.

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