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Coronavirus-induced lockdown gives migratory birds and animals a reason to cheer

With reduced human interference and pollution during lockdown, birds are staying in sanctuaries a bit longer; injuries to marine animals have come down

Rameswaram: Unlike in the case of humans, the COVID-19 lockdown seems to have had a positive impact on animals and birds. Limited human interference and reduced pollution levels in the district has helped them reclaim their space in the ecosystem to a certain extent, say environmentalists. Many bird species which migrate from other parts of the country – known as partial migratory birds – have now extended their stay at the Therthangal and Melaselvanoor-Keelaselvanoor bird sanctuaries, said Ramanathapuram forest range officer S Sathish in Tamil Nadu.

“Usually, species like open bill stork, spot-billed pelican, painted stork, grey heron, spoonbill and ibis depart from here by March. However, this year, they have extended their stay, thanks to the lockdown,” he said. “A good northeast monsoon and comfortable storage in water bodies across the district had led to an increase in the nesting of birds in these two sanctuaries during the last season,” he added.

“Forest department officials released fingerlings into water bodies last year. The tanks and feeder channels were desilted to ensure that there was good water storage,” he said. Ramanathapuram wildlife warden said the lockdown period has helped in reducing injuries to marine animals. “Usually, animals like dugongs, dolphins and sea turtles sustain injuries after getting hit by the propellers of boats. The lockdown has helped in avoiding such accidents,” he said. According to Sathish, spotted deer and peacocks were seen in good numbers in Thondi and Thiruvadanai recently.