Locals damage Okhla Bird Sanctuary
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Noushu Ali/Kalindi Kunj
The nationally-famed Okhla Bird Sanctuary is in bad shape. Located on the banks of River Yamuna between Noida and Okhla Village, the sanctuary has become a resting place for the locals and their cattle. This has only stopped migratory birds like kingfishers, flamingoes, gulls, geese, pintails, and others from coming to the area.
From outside things look normal. But a closer look only highlights the disturbing picture. Areas that were allotted for rare birds have been occupied by domestic animals of the people living in street number 6 and 7 of Abul Fazal Enclave.
Authorities’ regular efforts to cordon off the area with wire have failed to yield positive results. The locals unaware of the ecological damage they are causing to the sanctuary break the fence and use this wetland for cattle grazing. Besides, some are also found catching fish in the Yamuna. During early morning and late night they use the area for relieving themselves. And when weather is pleasant then youngsters are seen using a patch of the land for playing cricket.
KL Sharma, who looks after the Okhla Bird Sanctuary, is upset with the development. He said that pigs and buffaloes graze in the area thus exposing migratory birds. The biggest danger is that most of the local animals are unvaccinated and thus there are chances of them suffering from diseases like influenza viruses. Thus the fear is that avian creatures that come to this area from far places may get disease. However, till now no such accident has been reported.
Above all, a piece of land inside the sanctuary is used as a cremation place.
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