Urbanization, Pesticides Are Destroying Breeding Grounds Of Fauna
With Paul John
As monsoon cast its mag ic on Ahmedabad, staff members at Sundarvan nature park in Satellite, this year, could hear just a solitary toad croak to its mate. The nature park is situated right in the middle of a dense concrete jungle. Park manager S Sivakumar, rues, “This monsoon, we could hear just a solitary call instead of the chorus we are used to hearing.“ Sivakumar says with dark humour, “It must have been a missed call.”Monsoon is a season of rejuvenation for all life forms ­ especially amphibians and insects who make the most of the freshwater, tender leaves and the bounty nature has to offer. Right from butterflies, catterpillars, moths to dragonflies, leafhoppers and cotton bugs, the surroundings come alive with a burst of confetti-coloured insects and sounds emanating from nooks and corners of the city including the green periphery–like Indroda park and Kamla Nehru Zoo.

But experts worry about the ever-shrinking space for these very important life forms in the march of urbanization. B C Choudhury , former professor at Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and wildlife scientist, said that we have the tendency to put cement and stone at every possible opportunity , preventing on-ground vegetation growth.

“A major portion of rainwater now goes down the drain instead of accumulating in ponds or water bodies which provided breeding grounds for amphibians, reptiles and insects. Unfortunately, wherever there are such bodies, we are polluting them with insecticides and pesticides. Due to this, tadpoles (the intermediate stage of amphibian lifecycle) fail to grow into frogs,” said Choudhury.

Entomologists Vandana Thakur of Serenity Library says, “Monsoon provides insects the perfect temperature and humidity to thrive.Some butterflies and moths prefer to remain in pupa or at the frozen larva stage the entire winter, and come out during favourable weather like monsoon, and complete their life cycle.”

“Along with harmful insects, we are also killing dragonflies and damselflies that naturally keep insect population in check. Mobile radiation is also playing its part in damaging life forms,“ said Ramjee Nagarajan, programme coordinator, CEE.

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