The 16th bird sanctuary in Tamil Nadu, the Kazhuveli Wetland Birds Sanctuary, is in the Vanur and Marakkanam talukas of the Villupuram district. After Pulicat lake, Kazhuveli, at 5,151.6 hectares, attracts many long-distance migrant birds from Central Asia and Siberia and is believed to be the second-largest brackish lake in southern India.
An Integral Part
As per the state government, the Kazhuveli wetland, located around 18 kilometres north of Puducherry and spreading across 13 villages, is of &ldquoadequate ecological, faunal, floral and geomorphological significance to protect, propagate and to develop wildlife and its environment.&rdquo Lying adjacent to the Bay of Bengal, it is one of the 94 identified wetlands under the National Wetland Conservation and Management Programme launched by the Union government. The state has three other wetlands Point Calimere, Pallikaranai marsh, and Ousteri lake, under the same programme.
There are approximately 226 species in Kazhuveli lake, and there are also winter migratory birds. Therefore, the wetlands are home to over 30,000 wild ducks in winter, 20,000-40,000 shorebirds, and 20,000-50,000 terns during the migration period. An integral aspect of local and world ecology, wetlands retain rainwater, help with flood control, and serve as a drinking water source for humans.
Solutions To Problems
As with other wetlands across India, Kazhuveli is also threatened by human expansion under the guise of development. From residences to chemical effluents from aquaculture and agriculture, saltpans, industrial waste, and even tourism development, everything is eating into the wetland, including poaching, which is a significant cause for concern. The government has worked towards removing encroachment under the National Green Tribunal order in 2016. An increase in patrolling of the lake has brought down poaching, and the involvement of the locals has further helped the cause of keeping Kazhuveli wetland safe.
How to get there You can travel to Puducherry by air, railway, or road transport. Kazhuveli is 18 kilometres from there.
The closest airport is in Chennai, around 135 kilometres from Puducherry, an approximately two-and-a-half-hour journey. Chennai has excellent connections with almost all cities in India and direct connections to Europe, the USA, the Middle East, and South East Asia. Trichy airport is 220 kilometres away, and Bangalore is 320 kilometres.