Waterbodies in Chandaka dry up as mercury rises (India)


Times of India

Date Published

Bhubaneswar: Almost 60% of the 23 natural water bodies in Chandaka wildlife sanctuary have started drying up with the rise in day temperature. “It is difficult to recharge the groundwater level unless there is water throughout the season because the soil is of dry laterite type. We apprehend saplings recently planted to increase green cover will die in the absence of water,” divisional forest officer (Chandaka) Manoj Mohapatra.

He said the animals will also face difficulty and are likely to stray into other areas in search of water. “Comparatively less than average rainfall and early sign of rising mercury has triggered the situation. The water bodies should be filled to capacity but it is not the case. The situation will get worse after May,” Mohapatra added.

Met office sources said since the first week of February, the day temperature is hovering between 33 degree and 35 degree Celsius. The torrential rain during Phailin in 2013 and Hudhud in 2014 had helped revive the water bodies, but groundwater recharge has been hit due to heat and subsequent less rainfall.

Wildlife officials said dry water bodies will have an impact on the movement of elephant herds, which move out of the sanctuary in search of water. Less rainfall will affect the bamboo plants too.

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Spread over 193 sq km, the sanctuary boasts of 23 natural water bodies of which Deras and Jhumka reservoirs are spread over nearly 10 acres. “These two reservoirs are frequented by elephants, deer and leopards, but these also have less water,” said Mohapatra.

In the 2012-13 elephant census, 23 elephants were sighted in the sanctuary. The number came down to eight in 2014-15. “Drying up of water bodies is a major reason behind elephants leaving the sanctuary,” he said.