Birds prefer Thol over Nalsarovar

(TNN | Jan 13, 2012, 04.21 AM IST)

AHMEDABAD: If you are a bird watcher, Thol lake should be preferred over Nalsarovar as your destination. A total of 77 species of birds are found in Thol as compared to 50 species seen at Nalsarovar.

Of these, 39 species are present in both these wetlands. A study by Sejal Patel and Nishith Dharaiya of the department of life sciences, Hemchandrachaya North Gujarat University also revealed that 37% of the species seen were migratory. The study states that more migratory bird species were found in Thol sanctuary than in Nalsarovar. Wetland birds prefer Thol over Nalsarovar because of anthropogenic pressure and tourism. These activities deter birds from coming to the lake.

The analysis further concluded that assemblies of birds in a lake also show greater availability of food resources. Birds which breed locally are also found in larger numbers at Thol than at Nalsarovar. The study concluded that the decrease in birds was directly related to tourist activity. An official further said it is a known fact that the birds are observed far from the shores where tourists board boats to venture into the lake. He said that to spot more rare species and migratory birds, one has to advance into Nalsarovar for three or four hours. Local birds are more commonly spotted in the vicinity of the tourist zone. The avifauna at Nalsarovar is spread across an area of 120 sq km, while Thol is just seven square kilometres in size.

Officials said the decrease in the number of birds at Nalsarovar over the last five years was attributable not just to the falling level of water in the lake, but also to drawing of water from the lake, illegal boating and the permitted boating by tourists.

At Thol, all such activities are totally banned. Boating is not permitted in Thol lake and there is no illegal fishing there as well. Further, the water level is always maintained – unlike Nalsarovar – and hence birds are present throughout the year.

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