PANAMARAM HERONRY

  • The Panamaram heronry, the largest breeding ground of herons in Kerala’s Malabar region, is set to get a fresh lease of life, thanks to the intervention of the Kerala State Biodiversity Board (KSBB) and the Panamaramgrama panchayat.
  • The heronry, formed on a sandbank on the Panamaram river, is a breeding ground for nine species of waterbirds.
  • “The tiny islet is a haven for globally threatened waterfowls, including the black headed-ibis, purple heron, large egret, median egret, little egret, pond heron, night heron, and little cormorant.
  • The site is also the only location in State where the cattle egret breeds, Mr. Vishnudas adds. A few years ago birds like lesser whistling duck, jacanas, and moore bred on the wetlands near the site.
  • However, human intervention has left a negative impact on the avian habitat, he added.
  • The members of the civic body have joined hands with the KSBB, which granted ₹3 lakh, to conserve the heronry.
  • “We are planning to set up a watch tower with binoculars on the opposite bank of the site to watch the birds and plant saplings of bamboo and vetiver to stop the erosion of the sandbanks during monsoon at a cost of ₹6 lakh

Characteristics: 

  • The White-bellied Heron is extremely shy to human presence.
  • It is plain dark grey in colour except for the white belly part.
  • It has a long neck.

Habitat:

  • It is one of the rarest birds in the world.
  • At present, it is found only in Bhutan, Myanmar and the Namdapha Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh, India.
  • But the bird has also been recorded in the Kamlang Tiger Reserve in Lohit district in Arunachal Pradesh through camera trap images.

Conservation Status:

  • IUCN Status: Critically Endangered
  • Indian Wildlife Protection Act,1972: Schedule IV

Threats:

  • Loss and degradation of lowland forests and wetlands through direct exploitation and disturbance by humans
  • Natural forest fires have destroyed nests of Heron

SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB

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