December 12, 2016
Wildlife conservation efforts in the Nilgiris received a thumbs- up from unexpected quarters on Sunday.
The compliment came from Mohammad Ali Reza Khan,noted Bangladeshi ornithologist and wildlife conservationist during the course of an interaction with a small group of bird enthusiasts in Ooty.
However his views on habitat protection were far from complimentary. Though the efforts being taken to look after the wild animals were visible the steps taken to check degradation of their habitat were conspicuous by their absence,he observed.A plan of action should be drawn to restore habitats to their original state.
Decrying the tendency among many of the local people to show more interest in exotic wildlife,Dr.Khan said that they should take more pride in indigenous species.When asked to elaborate,he pointed out that despite the presence of a large variety of Asian animals the interest in animals far away like giraffes was more.Regretting that the views of many on wild animals were lop sided, he said that while a great deal of importance was being given to tigers and elephants all the other forms of locally available wildlife were being taken for granted.
Expressing concern over the lack of effective water management measures in the Nilgiris,Dr.Khan opined that focus on this vital component of conservation should be more.In would help reduce man-wildlife conflict.On bird watching,he said that interest in birding particularly among young children was on the rise.
He recalled with interest his association with the Nilgiris in general and Coonoor in particular.
Dr.Ali who had completed his Ph.D in Ornithology from the University of Mumbai (then Bombay University) in 1977 under the supervision of the internationally renowned Indian ornithologist Salim Ali had come here a little earlier to study the black and orange fly catcher,a species endemic to the Western Ghats.Those days it was said to be rare.He had visited the Sim’s Park in Coonoor often.
Dr.P.J.Vasanthan,an authority on birds who was part of the interaction told The Covai Post that Dr.Khan’s presentation was highly informative.It had provided valuable insight into many forms of conservation.