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Since 1st March, 1999
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Birds dwindle at dam

Hazaribagh, Jan. 29: Callous humans have left Khandoli Dam, one of Giridih district’s most scenic tourist spots, increasingly polluted for migratory birds whose numbers are dwindling.

The water reservoir and dam, situated 8km from the district headquarters and adjacent to a hillock, is ideal for the winged visitors. Besides birdwatchers, it witnesses a heavy footfall daily due to the added attraction of boating.

Birdwatchers pointed out that people taking boat rides dump polythene bags and oily eatables into the waters, which adversely affected aquatic life — the food of the birds.

Many tourists liked to create commotion and disturb the birds, they said, adding that human interference had increased in the past five to six years. Birds from the Himalayan regions fly in around November and return by the end of February.

Noted wildlife activist Satya Prakash admitted that human interference had discouraged migratory birds from visiting the dam.

“Tourists shouldn’t disturb birds but only watch them from a distance. Apart from Khandoli, other reservoirs in Jharkhand, too, have witnessed a decrease in numbers of migratory birds. People should change their attitude towards birds. Otherwise, their numbers will keep decreasing,” said the president of the Neo Human Foundation, which works for conservation of wildlife.

According to Mahesh Kumar, a local villager, the numbers of migratory birds at Khandoli used to cross 10,000 a few years earlier.

Pramod Kumar, the caretaker of the dam countered the claims of villagers. “This spot is one of the best and cleanest in the state. There are around 2,000 birds at present.”

Forest officials also said they had left no stone unturned to make people aware about the birds. Signboards between Giridih College and Khurchutta Chowk served as reminders of punishment to those who killed the birds, while forest officials patrolled the area regularly, they added.

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