New Delhi, Apr 10 : The Okhla bird sanctuary in New Delhi is seeing a record low turnout this summer.
Once a thriving habitat for flamingos and sarus and pochards, the Okhla bird sanctuary today is devoid of most of its winged visitors. Avid bird watcher Anand Arya, who has been recording the bird species in the park for many years, is concerned.
“Population used to be 3-4 lakhs, which has come down to around 10,000. Since morning, I have spent two and a half hours and I am not able to spot a single munia, hardly any terrestrial birds, in fact even the butterflies that used to abound are missing completely,” said Anand.
Even the number of small terrestrial birds like stonechat, warblers and paradise flycatchers has declined. The question is that why are the birds giving this important birding area, a miss?
Experts allege that constructions like commercial complexes, DND expressway, flyovers and even the Ambedkar Park, have destroyed the feeding grounds around the bird sanctuary.
“You have destroyed trees which were 20-25 years old. Now you are replacing them with four feet high sticks, which will attract birds only in 15 years. No bird is going to wait for that long,” said Anand.
Then there are other threats like high tension wires that run all along the boundary of the sanctuary. Birds steer clear from the 400 KV lines. Yet despite the threats, the baikal teal, a migratory duck was seen after 40 years in Okhla bird sanctuary near Delhi giving that one sign of hope for this bird haven.
The waters at the Okhla bird sanctuary were once teeming with birds. Today there are scanty no of birds. The empty landscape is perhaps a wake up call for the UP and Delhi state governments to ensure better protection for this neglected sanctuary.