HOSPET, India: The new book titled "Birds of Hampi" was released by Sri. G.V.Sugur, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Government of Karnataka, at a function held in Bangalore recently. The book, written by Sri. Samad Kottur, is intended to help both the seasoned bird watcher and lay man identify the birds in and around Hampi. This field guide has pictures of 230 birds, with description of scientific and common names, size, colour, habitat, dispersal, plumage, behavior, habits, breeding season, migratory patterns and best places to see in the Hampi vicinity. It also gives information on resident and migratory birds. There is also space for recording observations, times and places of sightings.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. G.V.Sugur, PCCF, said that the book does not stop at thoroughly researched data, excellent pictures and detailed information, but also encourages conservation of birds and documentation of rare birds in and around Hampi. Karnataka is the home of many rare birds and has eight bird sanctuaries dedicated to birds exclusively, for protection and conservation. He observed that it is just not the domain of the Forest Department to conserve habitat, it has now become duty of every citizen to conserve the nature, flora and fauna.
Sri. Samad Kottur, author, wildlife activist, photographer and also the President of North Karnataka Birder's Network, said that this book is hoped to kindle the interest of birdwatchers in the amazing area around Hampi. The book has been compiled with the help of several ardent bird watchers and photographers. He said he began exploring birds in Hospet, Hampi and around the Tungbhadra dam and was surprised by the diversity. He began documenting them from 2000, and conducted hundreds of bird watching camps and awareness camps for students and the public. There is growing interest among people for bird watching, which is a very stimulating hobby in nature. With this activity, we have been able to record many rare birds visiting Hampi, earlier not recorded. He thanked MSPL for extending support in publishing this book. This book is a tribute to avian biodiversity, celebrating its beauty, as well as identifying the species which are on the brink of extinction.
Dr. Asad Rahmani, Director, Bombay Natural History Society, said that we must document and expand the documentation process across India covering rare and neglected species. Under the newly implemented CSR rules, there is going to be a corpus of Rs.20,000 crore available with the Indian corporates. Even if a small component of this amount is spent on wildlife conservation, it would be a substantial service to nature. Many semi-endemic species such as Sarus Crane, Long-billed Vulture, Swamp Francolin, Black-breasted Parrotbill and Greater Adjutant have the majority of their population in India. Therefore, India has to play a major role in their conservation. He thanked Baldota group for having supported BNHS in the past for the publication of "Important Bird Areas in India" (2004), "Potential & existing Ramsar Wetlands of India" (2007) and "Threatened Birds of India".
Mr. Narendrakumar A Baldota, Chairman & Managing Director said that Hampi has a fascinating ecosystem. Apart from foreign tourists, Hampi also receives unique birds from various continents. It was Shri.M.Y Ghorpade, former Minister and a member of Sandur Royal family, inculcated the bird watching hobby among students in the area. He called upon people to cultivate the hobby of bird watching.
Smt. Shama Pawar, Convenor of The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), said that there is more in Hampi than the ruins and monuments of Vijayanagara kingdom. The natural heritages of Hampi deserve more recognition.
Hospet based MSPL Limited has sponsored the publication of the book-"Birds of Hampi" and published by INTACH- Hampi-Anegundi Chapter. The book will be of interest to researchers, students, policy makers, bird lovers, corporates, NGOs and the lay reader interested in the natural world in general, and birds in particular. In the US, Bird watching is a major American pastime with roughly 47 million bird watchers who spend nearly $41 billion on the hobby annually, according to a 2011 survey by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
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