KOCHI: Cranes stroll the shallows searching for crabs among the lake bed cracks. The water has receded to a thin strip exposing the lake bed. Thattekad bird sanctuary, the tropical rain forest, which harbours many endangered and endemic species, is parched and deserted.
Thattekad, the first bird sanctuary in the state where exotic birds of multiple hues from Siberia and Western countries descend in droves, is losing its sheen. The wetland formed by the waters of Bhoothathankettu Dam, the rain forest and the western hills - a perfect habitat for the avian visitors - is in bad shape. There has been a steep decline in the arrival of migratory birds at Thattekad this year. Environmentalists attribute the dwindling number of birds to climate change leading to destruction of habitat.
According to Ornithologist R Sugathan, the rise in atmospheric temperature has resulted in climatic changes leading to a host of environmental, health and economic hazards.
“The southern states have been experiencing drought conditions for the past few years as the extreme climate of the north is slowly spreading to the south. Water bodies are drying up and the groundwater level is depleting at an alarming rate. Evergreen forests are turning moist-deciduous, while moist-deciduous turn deciduous. If a forest changes its character then the dependent fauna will be affected,” he said.
Three factors influence the arrival of migratory birds at a particular nesting place - safety, availability of food, environment congenial for breeding.