From: S. Srinivasan, Associated Press
Published August 3, 2005 12:00 AM

Flood Traps Hundreds of Migratory Birds in Indian Sanctuary

BANGALORE, India — Hundreds of migratory birds have been trapped with their fledgling offspring in southern India after monsoon floodwaters inundated their sanctuary, an official said Tuesday.


"Many birds flew away when tree trunks started submerging, but about 500 birds have stayed and moved to tree tops," said Prasanna Kumar, assistant conservator of forests at Ranganathittu bird sanctuary, 140 kilometers (85 miles) south of the city of Bangalore.


"They stayed because their chicks are too young to fly," Kumar said. "We don't know of any birds getting washed away as yet, but it is a possibility."


On Monday, heavy monsoon rains drove the water level in the nearby Cauvery river to 15 feet (4.5 meters) above normal, partially submerging a dam and flooding the sanctuary, Kumar said.


About 30,000 birds arrived at Ranganathittu during the current migratory season beginning May -- some from as far as Siberia -- Kumar added.


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They included white ibises, herons and egrets, he said.


The sanctuary, a popular tourist spot, also attracts pelicans, spoonbills, openbills, cormorants and swallows. Other animals, such as marshland crocodiles, bats and macaques, have made it their home.


India's government declared Ranganathittu a bird sanctuary in 1940, but scientists say birds have been flocking there for about 200 years.


A week of torrential rains have left more than 900 people dead in India's western state of Maharashtra.


Source: Associated Press


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