Bangalore’s first bird conservatory still a dream


Puttenahalli Lake at Yelahanka suffers the consequences of negligence by the government authorities

March 13, 2018, Bangalore: You ‘could’ see spot-billed pelicans. You ‘could’ spot pond herons, and painted storks. You ‘could’ find darters as well. But you may not, in the near future; or at a large scale even today. Because Yehalanka’s Puttenahalli Lake is no longer the city’s that familiar retreat, but a 10-hectare stagnant, barren swamp filled with sludge and filth.

“The water body is choked with sludge and filth that has been dumped into the lake bed for more than a couple of years now. As varieties of bird species were always found choosing this lake as a breeding ground, this lake was considered to be the location for a bird conservation reserve,” said Ms. Deepika, from Karnataka Forest Development Corporation.

“Karnataka Forest Department has taken up the initiative long back, but due to negligence by the lake governing authorities, the project could never be completed. If completed, the Puttenahalli Lake would be designated as the very first bird conservation reserve in the city,” she added.

“There is no designated bird conservation reserve in Bangalore yet. The Hebbal Lake was being considered as a potential spot, but that project never worked out. There are bird conservation reserves in Karnataka, but none in Bangalore as of now,” said Mr. Bopanna of Bangalore Birding, an organization dedicated to wildlife tours in and around Bangalore, Mysore, Coorg, and the Western Ghats.

“It is one sad state that the lake lies in. The degradation started in 1992, and nothing has been done to develop the water body and manage it properly. The BDA, BWSSB, or BBMP expand, please – none took charge and worked on it. The Sewage Treatment Plant that is required to treat the issue never was installed. Not only that, the sewage, and the emission of the stormwater drain that come to the lake, has aggravated,” sighed Mr. Sangunni, a bird expert and professor at the IISc Bangalore, who was an active member in the movement that led to the state government nominating the lake as a bird conservation spot.

“Whereas certain species come to the water body due to its food habit developed from the sewage provided food chain, most species do not get its food from the lake due to its condition. The lake has turned into a barren land, filled with all kinds of filth,” he added.

BDA Commissioner Rakesh Singh acknowledged the Puttenahalli Lake at JP Nagar but was ignorant of its namesake’s existence at Yelahanka.

The lake cleanup work already started almost four months ago. What kind of a sentence is this? As it draws a wide variety of exotic birds, proper maintenance should be carried out regularly, said Amalraj, the civil engineer of PJB – a private company working on the project of cleaning and rejuvenating the water-body under the forest department of Karnataka.

Bangalore awaits its first ever bird conservation reserve as the Puttenahalli Lake takes every breath hoping to come back to life.