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Pulicat facing ecological crisis

Pulicat facing ecological crisis
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Pulicat Lake, the country’s second largest brackish water ecosystem after Chilka in Odisha, is facing an ecological crisis. Its area is shrinking and fish dwindling due to silting and indiscriminate fishing.The Wildlife Division of Andhra Pradesh has specified that the lake is home to 115 aquatic species and varieties of terrestrial and aquatic birds and small mammals and reptiles.

Nellore: Pulicat Lake, the country’s second largest brackish water ecosystem after Chilka in Odisha, is facing an ecological crisis. Its area is shrinking and fish dwindling due to silting and indiscriminate fishing.The Wildlife Division of Andhra Pradesh has specified that the lake is home to 115 aquatic species and varieties of terrestrial and aquatic birds and small mammals and reptiles.

  • It is the second largest ecosystem after Chilka in Odisha
  • Industrialisation threat looms over the lagoon
  • Not less than 15k flamingos visit the lake every year
  • Official Flamingo festival is held every December

As many as 15,000 flamingos visit the lake on their annual migration route. Around 80 to 100 water birds belonging to 80 species come to the lake every winter; some have been from Ladakh, Tibet and China. Species like the spot billed pelican, stork, and white Ibis breed in the vicinity of the lake. In fact, during northeast monsoon period, lake is full of nutritious water and large numbers of both phytoplankton and zooplankton are essential food for invertebrates and fishes.


For protecting this rich local fauna of the lagoon, two bird sanctuaries have been established in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary in Andhra Pradesh came into being in September, 1976, in an area of 172 km whereas the one in Tamil Nadu was established in October, 1980, in an area of 60 km extending over the Ponneri and Gummidipundi of Tiruvallur district.


According to ornithological records, more than 70,000 migrant water birds feed and breed in the northern part of the lagoon during winter. Researchers have found that industrialisation threat is looming over Pulicat biodiversity. It is feared that it may lead to disappearance of eco-system, if steps are not taken to protect it.


Various forms of pollution, coastal erosion and inflow of saline water have also contributed to degradation of the lake. The degradation is posing a threat to livelihood of fisherfolk. Studies show that not less than 4,000 fishermen and their families in 23 villages eke out a living.

By:PV Prasad

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