Nivedha Selvam | Nivedha.Selvam1 | Feb 16, 2019, 00:41 IST
For the first time in a decade, the Vellalore lake is filled with water, attracting a large number of birds. While a total of 641 birds belonging to 76 species have taken refuge in the lake, they are at the risk of being chased away by fishermen.
“We had put in so much effort to revive the lake and we were happy that a large number of birds, some of them rare species, have made it their habitat,” said R Manikandan of Kovai Kulangal Padukappu Iyyakam, which along with the city corporation and Public Works Department (PWD) desilted the lake last year. “During one of our visits, we spotted several hundreds of birds in the lake. But they weren’t there when we came next day.
If the birds disappear, it will affect the ecosystem in the long run.” Another environmentalist, who didn’t want to be named, said fishermen, who are fishing in the lake, have been chasing away the birds with stones.
“The fishermen think all the birds are feeding on fish and hence chase them away. It will have an impact on the number of birds returning to the lake.” P R Selvaraj, member of Coimbatore Nature Society, said only a section of birds survive on fishes, while others feed on insects and plant cells. “
As the Vellalore tank has both shallow and deep waters, apart from a good number of trees, it has attracted a variety of species. Chasing them away would cause severe damage to the ecosystem.” Refusing the allegations, M Balamurugan, president of Kovai Fishermen’s Cooperative Society, said the fishermen belonging to the society were not harming the birds in anyway. “Instead, there are many incidents when the fishermen have rescued the injured birds.”
When contacted, officials with the PWD and the fisheries department said they would look into the issue and take necessary action.