#Indian Natural Wildlife Habitat : Its a catch-22 situation… (part 8 of 8) – Deccan Grassland
Must See before they vanish
Stay away and contribute towards their continued existence?
I was a bit amused reading a report on the tragedy of vanishing biological treasures in India and at the same time promoting as a potential tourist attraction, which in itself is potentially the biggest hazard for these places. I always wanted to see the whole of India and hopefully I would be able to realize this dream of mine before I die. India has amazingly diverse regions which is the reason for its varied flora and fauna, but the number of species falling under International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of threatened Species is increasing owing to rampant unsustainable development and malpractices. That is the reason why these places are under very real threat of being knocked out of existence. So while I do have this wish to visit all these places before they vanish, there is also this fear that its people like us, visiting these places as tourist attraction, ruining the environment and creating difficulties for the natural inhabitants of these places.
Increasing population means a fight between humans and the other creation of mother nature for the scare resources. When we start taking nature for granted, one day it is bound to unleash its fury and then we are left with nothing but pain and guilt, we have seen how it unfolds in the tragedies in the form of flood in Uttarakhand, Jammu & Kashmir, Assam and other Norther Eastern states of India.
Even if I do not get to see these places ever, I’ll still be at peace with myself (maybe happier) just to know that these places survive the human assaults. If by going there as a tourist, not bothered about our own responsibilities towards nature, we are merely adding to their woes, it is better to avoid doing further damage and stay away.
- Deccan Grasslands and Scrub Forests (Southern India)
What Makes It Special?
- Rollapadu is primarily a grassland ecosystem with mixed forests and thorny bushes. Its home to a varied set of faunal and avifaunal species. Foxes, jackals, bonnet macaques, jungle cats, sloth bears and black bucks have been reported at the sanctuary as also the Russell’s viper, Indian cobra and rattlesnakes. It also houses 132 bird species with the Alganur reservoir near the sanctuary being a haunt for migratory species. Some of the bird species spotted at Rollapadu besides the bustard and the florican include Indian rollers, mynas, short toed snake eagles and migratory species such as barheaded geese, Demoiselle Cranes and Greater Flamingos.
- An increase in the blackbuck population at the sanctuary has been postulated as one of the reasons for the fall in numbers of the bustard and the florican there. Their feeding on the grasses has in turn led to a fall in the numbers of grasshoppers and locusts that constitute an important source of food for the two bird species besides also reducing the nesting area available to these ground nesting birds
The Looming Danger
- The ecosystem and the wildlife it supports are threatened due to encroachment, developmental activities and killing of grassland birds. Rollapadu wildlife sanctuary was established as an ideal site for the protection of the bustard in the 1980s, conservation efforts at have suffered severe setbacks with the bustard population falling.
- The sanctuary houses nearly 800 blackbucks which often raid the farmlands beyond the sanctuary’s borders and this has led to public anger against the sanctuary. Grazing of cattle within the sanctuary’s precincts has also affected the breeding of the bustards. Changes in the ecosystem due to the linking of the Alganur tank with the Telugu Ganga Canal and the consequent rise in ground water levels in this semi-arid region have led to changes in flora as well as in the nature of agriculture practiced around the sanctuary’s periphery.
- Harriers have been found dead presumably due to the effect of biomagnification. Foxes, the Lesser Florican and short-toed larks have not been spotted at the sanctuary in recent years.
- Ranebennur Blackbuck Sanctuary was declared as a sanctuary mainly to protect blackbucks and it is also known for its wolf populations.
- Other mammals include wild pig, fox, jackal, langur, porcupine, common mongoose, hare and pangolin. Hyenas are also found in the Harinigudda area of the sanctuary.
The Potential Loss
This region has Indian Wolf, birds such as Great Indian Bustard and Jerdon’s Courser, antelopes such as Blackbuck and Chinkara which will be totally lost in the future.