May 22, 2020
Known for its rich biodiversity and the manner in which the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDBD) is celebrated here every year,the Nilgiris on Friday observed the 2020 edition of the day looking back on the distance travelled and taking stock of what lies ahead particularly in the context of the rapidly changing scenario brought about by the pandemic. The mood,at present,not only among conservationists but also the general public was that optimum use should be made of the opportunity provided by Covid-19 on the environment front.
Pointing out that the pandemic and the consequent lockdown have brought to the fore noticeable differences vis a vis the environment,people representing various sections of the society in the Nilgiris told The Covai Post here that everyone should start making appropriate lifestyle changes to be in tandem with the “new normal”.
Stating that there was no better occasion than the observance of IDBD to do some serious reflection on the upbeat situation relating to the environment of the Nilgiris facilitated by the Corona virus, Dr.Siddharth Krishnan,Senior Faculty,Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) pointed out that both flora and fauna were flourishing. With people indoors and vehicles off the roads wild animals were venturing out in gay abandon. Indian gaurs which were hitherto seen only in certain pockets were now ubiquitous.
However there was a need to exercise caution ,he averred and added “we should step up our guard against escalation of man-animal conflict”. There were disturbing indications of elephants reaching the upper plateau and the growth in population of deer and wild boars was threatening to attain menacing proportions. “We need to put in place an effective plan to manage the emerging situation”, Dr.Krishnan opined.He further said that the opportunity provided by the Covid-19 should trigger a rethink on the two vital economic factors, Tea and Tourism.
Mr.Vijay Krishnaraj, environmental activist underscored the need to evolve measures, without delay, to sustain the momentum provided by the virus in stemming the environmental rot and showcasing a visible difference be it air or water pollution. The Nilgiris sans tourism was back to its pristine glory,he pointed out and added that it called for regulations of a varied kind while reviving tourism. The Western Ghats in general and the Nilgiris in particular were at their verdant best. Normally shy birds like the grey headed bulbul, the hornbill and the
scimatar babbler can now be found chirping closer to the towns.Monkeys in places like Burlai on the Ooty-Mettupalayam ghat road were going back to the forests in search of food rather than wait indefinitely
for passersby to throw something to them. This was a healthy sign. Tourist spots like Sim’s Park,Dolphin’s Nose and Doddabetta were now litter free and the plastic menace was controlled to a significant extent. Mr.Krishnaraj hoped that when tourists resume their ascent to the Blue Mountains the district administration would not be found
wanting in regulating their stay and activities in the Blue Mountains.There was no better time than now to do this.