Muthanallur village on the outskirts of Bengaluru, has two lakes, the large amanikere and the Devara kere. Both these lakes and the woods around it host massive biodiversity.
Muthanallur’s Devara kere is about 84 acres (as per goggle earth, this is only an approximate value, not the exact)
Devara kere is quite unique in that its more a forest than a lake. Google earth images clearly show that more than ¾ th of the lake area is a dense wooded forest. The forest is made up of mostly Earpod wattle (acacia auriculiformis) and bamboo, the forest is very dense and the forest floor is full of shrubs (both native and non-native like lantana) and is filled with leaf litter throughout the year. Even though not all vegetation here is native, it still makes for a massive forest and hosts massive bird diversity and other fauna that one can rarely see in the Bangalore city. Birdwatchers have recorded 140+ species, most of these birds are forest dependent birds and not wetlands birds. Recently, in the name of rejuvenation, about 2000 trees from the forest of Devara kere were marked and numbered to be chopped. Removing these trees to create a tank like lake would totally destroy the existing ecosystem.
Fig. above clearly shows the vast dense forests from devara kere
Fauna of Devara Kere
141 species of birds have been recorded in Devara kere, please check the link for details, (https://ebird.org/hotspot/L9865053?yr=all&m=&rank=lrec ).
Some of the birds recorded here are residential and are fully dependent on the forest, for example the Indian scops owl (https://ebird.org/checklist/S61695761 ) and the Jerdon’s nightjar (https://ebird.org/checklist/S69445901) need expansive forests and are dependent on the expansive bamboo forest in Devara kere. Woodpeckers, leafbirds, minivets, ioras, honey buzzards, babblers of different kind need this forest to live. All the birds mentioned above are becoming exceedingly rare in Bangalore city, but find the Devara kere forest habitable.
In the winters, the forest in Devara kere becomes a paradise, the leaf litter hosts a lot of insects, which is perfect for flycatchers and warblers. The Indian paradise flycatchers come here stay throughout the winter in good numbers (a minimum of 5 birds can be seen here in this forest during October to March). Blue throated flycatchers have been recorded here for 2 years in a row; these birds are quite uncommon in Bangalore. Other birds like the black naped monarch, verditer flycatcher, Tickell’s blue flycatcher, taiga flycatcher, red breasted flycatcher and many different leaf warblers (phyloscopus genus), orioles, drongos and many more depend on this forest.
Apart from the birds, large number of Indian flying foxes roost here on the tall trees. Many rare butterflies, hares, small wild cats, insects, snakes and frogs have been seen here too.
Destroying the existing forest of Devara kere to make way for tank like lake will completely wipe out the existing forest dependent diversity. While, it’s nice that the authorities want to rejuvenate Devara kere and get more water into it, it would be completely unfair to destroy the home of so many birds and animals. A more inclusive way of rejuvenating the lake would be better for the biodiversity, maybe increase the water holding capacity and only let water into the non-wooded areas of the lake. Besides, in times of climate changes, can we afford to chop a fully grown forest of 2000 trees? Authorities must address experts so as to rejuvenate lakes in a way that damages the existing ecosystem the least. In interest of wildlife, its better to leave all the trees ( or at least most of the trees) and the bamboo forest in Devara kere alone and only make the non- wooded area as a lake.
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