Tourism spells trouble for bird sanctuary in Thattekad

Infra such as homestays a concern for Thattekad sanctuary, says Union Ministry report

The habitat of Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Thattekad, is facing threat from grazing, collection of fuel-wood and invasive species, according to an evaluation report.

Human-wildlife conflict, especially involving wild boar and birds, has created a negative feeling about the sanctuary among the local villagers.

There are human habitations in nearly one-third of the sanctuary, which raises serious management concerns, according to the report prepared by the Union Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change and Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun.

Tourism pressure is high in the protected area and it sometimes disturbs sensitive species such as the Ceylon frogmouth.

The considerable presence of tourism infrastructure, such as homestays, within the protected area is a matter of concern, noted the report.

The bird sanctuary, located in the foothills of the Western Ghats, supports a large number of mammalian, reptilian, amphibian, and fish species, including endemic ones.

The presence of 234 bird species was recorded in the sanctuary. The report assessed the sanctuary as very good in terms of management effectiveness, with a score of 77.5%.


The panel suggested the ‘rationalisation of boundaries’ of the protected area and wanted the ‘inclusion of private lands in the sanctuary’ to be reviewed.

Adequate mechanisms shall be put in place to monitor the rare, endangered, and threatened species and the special habitats and unique species present at the sanctuary.

Measures shall be introduced to reduce human-wildlife conflicts. Availability of water in aquatic habitats shall be ensured for the wetland-dependent wildlife, the report suggested.

The panel also called for technically sound anti-poaching, patrolling, and perambulation activities and their linkage with the GPS-based tracking system. The possibility of obtaining CSR funds shall be explored, it proposed.

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