Mysore, May 3 (JP)-The Mysore University's ambitious plan for restoring the ecology of Kukkarahalli tank is underway with the Forest Department having evaluated the value of eucalyptus trees on the Lake's vicinity.

Deputy Conservator of Forests, Sashwati Mishra told SOM that the Department had done so on the request of the Varsity and that the eucalyptus trees felled would be auctioned by the Varsity.

According to sources in the Vice-Chancellor's office, the trees that have been felled will be auctioned and the money used for the betterment of the Lake. SOM finds that eucalyptus trees have been uprooted and fruit bearing trees are to be planted there. But the soil conditions would have been changed due to the acidic nature of the eucalyptus and it is difficult to grow anything else in places where the eucalyptus stood earlier. The Horticultural Department of Mysore Varsity is not too sure what kind of fruit-bearing trees they are to plant.

However, when SOM spoke to some members of the informal bird-watchers group of the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, they said it was a 'feather-brained' scheme for all birds do not eat fruits and that many bird species look for roosts and appropriate places to build nests.

They further added that not all birds build nests; there are several species that use holes found along the tree branches or bunds of a tank. The common Kingfisher and the Spotted Owlet, which can be easily spotted at the Lake, nest in holes along the banks or tree branches. Even parakeets and mynahs use holes in branches of trees.

Meanwhile, DCF Mishra said that the Varsity would be setting up a Botanical Park and the Forest Department may be supplying plants from its nurseries.

The Mysore Varsity has a funding of Rs. 3 crore from the State government and is now in the process of preparing a master plan for the Eco-Restoration of Kukkarahalli Kere.

K. M. Jayaramaiah, Convenor, Kukkarahalli Lake Conservation Committee, said that the technical consultants would be roped in to work out the kind of restoration needed for bringing back the biota of the Lake and its environment. The Kukkarahalli Lake is spread over 58 hectares with a shoreline of roughly five kilometres and according to bird- watchers, it harbours nearly 200 species of birds. The Lake also attracts several species of migratory birds.

Incidentally, some 60 years ago this Lake had around 10,000 birds of a dozen species. Today it is less than 200 and visitors can spot Hoopoes along the bund while Spotted Owlets can be seen near the boat club, in fact several nest in the holes in the building. The marshy area down the entrance to the Lake is home to a Fishing Eagle and it can be seen in the early morning. Darters, Grebes and Moorhens are common.

Courtesy : Star Of Mysore