Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'
Not only are our wetlands being reclaimed at a furious pace for 'development', but many are also being slowly choked into non-existence by garbage and plastic waste. It's time we raised our collective voices -- before the crake's call becomes its death rattle.
This picture is from one of the wetlands near Hubli, North Karnataka, where we would regularly see waterbirds. Rails and snipes were quite common, but that has now been replaced by an assured sighting of garbage.
On one of my recent visits, I saw this Brown Crake (Zapornia akool), one of the bolder rails, with its striking yellow beak. The IUCN Red List ranks it as a species of ‘Least Concern’. However, the wetlands scream a different story. Due to rapid urbanisation and encroachment, our natural habitats are being converted to layouts and landfills. This wetland is an eyesore now, and I had to be content to at least sight this one bird.
The brown crake belongs to the Rallidae family – the etymology indicates old French and Latin, where râle is a loud, rattling, harsh cry. It’s time we joined our voices to call out the plight of our wetlands before the crake’s call becomes its death rattle.