SUBJECT : Flamingo tourism shows the way in Pandharkawda

Nagpur, May 19th: If Tipeshwar Wildlife Sanctuary near Pandharkawda in Yavatmal district is turning out to be a tiger tourism hot spot, flamingo tourism with people's participation, has shown the way for others.

This is the second year when the tall pink feathered birds have arrived in large numbers in Saykheda water reservoir, 18km from Pandharkawda. This year 32 birds visited the lake (last year their number was 18) and 13 have stayed put drawing tourists. "It is a good example of participatory conservation by locals.
Fishermen are themselves coming forward to protect these birds as they are getting tourism receipts," said Ramzan Virani, a local birder, who floated the idea.
Virani thought that without local participation the majestic birds cannot be protected.

Hence, he called a meeting of local fishermen. After discussions, the fishermen society members vowed not to disturb the beautiful birds. Virani came up with an idea of involving these fishermen in conservation of these birds and start tourism which will bring money to them.

"The idea was welcomed by fishermen. After allowing the birds to settle down for a week tourism was started," said Virani. The fishermen allow only two persons per trip by charging them Rs 300. Tourists are shown the birds on an island for 20 minutes from a distance of about 300 feet.

Fishermen are getting good returns and in lieu the birds are also being monitored continuously. "This is the only flamingo tourism in Vidarbha with participatory management. Both people and locals are happy," claims Virani.

Saykheda is the only waterbody where flamingoes settled for long and are expected to stay till June-end.

Source: Times of India