Plan to cull cormorants draws flak
The little cormorant is protected under the Wildlife Protection Act.
KOLLAM: A scheme under the Integrated District Development Plan (IDDP) for Kollam to cull and reduce the population of the little cormorant (Phalacrocorax niger) by 70 per cent is facing strong resistance from environmental activists and organisations. The IDDP is a government document prepared by the District Planning Committee.
Cormorants are protected under the Wildlife Protection Act.
The IDDP scheme states that these fish-eating birds are a major cause for the depletion of fish wealth in inland waterbodies. Fishermen depending on inland water fishing for their livelihood have expressed concern over this for long.
The IDDP report states that the time has come for controlling the little cormorant population. The birds are gregarious in nature and are voracious fish-eaters, the report says. “Anyone observing the birds in inland waterbodies will certainly endorse the concern of the fishermen.”
Gunning them down -
The scheme aims at culling 70 per cent of these birds from its present population of about 1,00,000 in the district. Under the scheme, an incentive of Rs.5 a bird will be given to a trained person for shooting down the bird with an air gun. The scheme has an outlay of Rs.4 lakh.
The outlay is for the cost of the air gun, pellets and training. The scheme will be implemented during 2009-10 by the Fisheries Department in coordination with the Forest Department and local self-government institutions. Selected traditional inland fishermen will be trained for the purpose.
The scheme states that the birds will be hunted only during evening when they return to roost.
Grama panchayats in the district to be covered by the scheme are Alapad, Chavara, Neendakara, Thekkumbhagam, Thevalakara, Thrikkaruva, Panayam, Munro Thuruthu, Mayyanad, Thrikadavur, West Kallada, Perayam, Karunagapally, Clapana, K.S. Puram, East Kallada, Poothakulam, Adichanallur, Panmana, Paravur municipality and Kollam Corporation.
‘Foolish plan’ -
K.K. Sivakumar, State Education Officer of the World Wildlife Fund, told The Hindu that the scheme would be opposed. Terming the scheme “foolish and a violation of the law,” he said that since the birds are covered by the Wildlife Protection Act it is the duty of the government to protect them.
Inland waterbodies are the natural habitat of the birds. If they are a threat to fish farms, the owners can only strive to keep the birds at bay. They cannot be eliminated.
He reiterated that the scheme would be opposed and the WWF would create awareness against it if the government decided to go ahead with it.
Link - http://www.hindu.com/2009/09/07/stor...0753550400.htm