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31 March, 2008

'Saving the bulbul's home'

Yellowthroated Bulbul: A new home to secure the future of this exclusively 'Indian' bulbul. Pic: Clement Francis

Saving the bulbul's home
Amit S Upadhye TNN Bangalore:
In 1906, when the British government notified a 42.27-sqkm forest patch on the hills along east Tumkur district as Devarayanadurga state forest, it left out 6 sqkm abutting it.

Over a hundred years later, the patch is now getting its due, with conservationists formulating a proposal to declare it a yellow-throated bulbul conservation reserve. The area is a nesting ground for these winged beauties, apart from being home to sloth bears and leopards.

On World Forestry Day recently, researchers from the Indian Institute of Science, members of the Wildlife Aware Nature Club (WANC), Tumkur, and forest department sleuths began a two-day survey of the patch, which is categorized as southern thorny scrub forest. The forest department will formulate the proposal based on the study results. The patch is at present under possession of the revenue department.

"Quarrying on the hill ranges around Tumkur has been putting immense pressure on the critical wildlife habitat thriving below. Seeking the declaration of this patch as a reserve is an attempt to retain it,'' said Ameen Ahmed, WANC member.

"The area holds potential for wildlife. The yellow-throated bulbul is found in plenty in the Devarayanadurga forest, as well as the patch which is being studied,'' said Tumkur DFO B Parameshwar.

The findings of the two days survey were overwhelming for the local conservationists when they sighted a spotted deer and jungle cat, apart from number of winged beauties. "The presence of prey base (spotted dear) for the big cats, gives boost to the theory that the tigers are on prowl in Devarayanadurga state forest,'' added a biodiversity expert.

The 6 sqkm of forest, abutting Devarayanadurga state forest, is likely to be proposed as 'Yellow-Throated Bulbul Conservation Reserve'. The patch, situated about 75 km from Bangalore, is home to leopards, slender loris, blacknaped hares, jackals, hyenas, langoors and sloth bears. Paradise fly-catcher, tickel's blue catcher, Nilgiri fly-catcher and blue rock thrush, apart from yellow-throated bulbul, are seen here in large number.

Givotea trees are found here, along with sterculia and anogeisus species. Anogeisus trees, locally known as 'antu mara' or 'dinduga', are elephants' favourites. Bamboo clumps and more than 200 medicinal plants are found here.


The Times of India (Bangalore), Times City, Page 5

Map below shows some of the areas in focus in the above story:
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