8 May 2007

No Fishing!

The below is a photograph of something I never hope to see by the side of Samudram Lake after this year. It is a hut for fishing folk that are trawling the gradually receding Lake for fish. Currently there are three such huts around the Lake. Last year the Municipality issued fishing permits giving rights to fishermen to stock and thereafter fish the lake. Sadly what was a lucrative business for them, was chaos and madness for the many visiting birds. Because the lake had many fish and freshwater shrimps and crabs, many hitherto unseen birds were attracted to visit and stay at Samudram Lake.

As is usually the case in man versus animal in food competition; man won and many birds were hunted, killed and frightened to prevent them eating the fish stock of Samudram Lake. This year the Lake was not stocked as before, but there is still a residual harvest left over from the previous year, hence several fishing huts have appeared around Samudram Lake.

While I was visiting at the Animal Shelter this afternoon, a young lady brought in a bag filled of 'dead' endangered migratory waterbirds that she had taken from some hunters who where loitering near her home. Wishing to bring the extent of the hunting of endangered birds to the notice of officials, she brought the bag filled with the 'dead' birds to the Animal Shelter for their advice and support. It was very brave of her to face down several hunters in order to confiscate the evidence of the dead birds. Hopefully the protection of birds and wildlife in this area can now start on an 'official level'.

What was particularly distressing to learn is that it is the fisherman and local agriculturalists who are calling in hunters in order to destroy the competition to the food chain.

Samudram Lake is about 550 acres and gets fully flooded and filled during the rainy season. For about 3 months the lake is filled to overflowing and then after the rainy season is over, increasingly the hot, sunny days and demands on the Muncipal water table, slowly lower the Lake. Eventually it dries out to just a watery puddle.

The Collector (the person in charge of the Local Municipality and its major decision maker) was recently approached regarding turning Samudram Lake into a protected bird sanctuary. He is currently considering proposals, but seems to be quite interested. Eventually all the farms around the lake will be sold to developers and adjacent lands will get built up with houses and flats; at that time having the Samudram Lake, well maintained and protected for migratory and local water-birds will be like New York with its park right in the middle. [Central Park in New York is 843 acres, and Hyde Park in London 608 acres].

However as Indians are generally not as 'health conscious' as Westerners, Samudram Lake won't need bicycle or jogging tracks around the perimeter! That's a relief!

The below picture is taken last year from high up, when the water of the Lake had receded from the trees skirting the perimeter of Municipal land. As Samudram Lake is a natural water catchment for water during the rainy season, it cannot be developed; or at least not in our life-time, maybe later when land will be HUGELY EXPENSIVE, all of a sudden like Bangalore, things will change and some bright spark will decide to try converting some of the lake land into building tracts!

The below is of a nice sunny day at the lakeside.

Lots and lots more information and posting about Samudram Lake to come. So keep checking back.

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