What are the critical issue of Bhartpur Sanctuary?



More than 40,000 pelicans, flamingoes, Siberian cranes and other migratory birds that made the Keoladeo National Park of Rajasthan in Bhartpur their annual winter retreat, now seem to have altered their flight plans. What was once a thriving wetland in Bharatpur, with more than 11 sq. km of lake is mostly arid waste -land? Approximately, 15-20% rare bird species were using the area as breeding colony. With growing shortage of water and feed, they no longer find the sanctuary suitable.

The dwindling bird population here has promoted the United National Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to issue a notice to the Bhartpur Sanctuary that, if the water table continues to fall and the numbers of migratory and local birds here keep falling, it would have no option but withdraw its world heritage status.

Bharatpur faced a water crisis for the first time in 2000 and has since been grapping with shortages. Scanty or no rainfall is one reason but the other reason is that water from the wetland has been diverted for agriculture and other uses such as increasing settlement in the areas. The dryness has also led to growing risk of forest fires.

To restore its wetland character, the parks need upto 850 million cubic feet of water. Currently, it has access to only 550 million cubic feet from the Chiksana canal, the Ajan Dam and few bore wells. Thus, the center and state ministries must set up coordinated efforts to encourage local people to help in saving the wetland.