Pulling the Plug on Larks and their Neighbours

Akshay Surendra

Akshay Surendra

Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'

While the inexorable urbanization that's in progress may eventually free up rural and forestland from human pressure to some extent, the materials and resources needed for the same urban growth could well end up inflicting irreparable damage on the land.

The greatest land transformation in our country today may not be the conversion of towns into bustling cities, but instead the stripping away of all ecological functions from other places in order to feed this hyper urbanization. Caught in this wheel of growth are forests, grasslands and patches of scrub that do not have the luxury of legal protection.

This Ashy-crowned Sparrow-lark was photographed around T G Halli on the outskirts of Bangalore, amidst hillocks ravaged by stone quarrying. The pressures of mining will only increase in the years to come as the appetite of growing cities increases. Larks such as these and many other seemingly nondescript (but ecologically crucial) species will slip away unless we make room for them in-situ. A welcome move by the Karnataka Government in this regard has been the setting up of a Karnataka Mining Environment Restoration Corporation (KMERC) to restore mined areas in 3 districts of State. But without the guiding light of science, well-intended efforts like afforestation become just another problem to contend with. It is crucial therefore, that our choices and policies to safeguard charismatic species like the tiger and the not-so-charismatic ones like this ashy-crowned sparrow-lark are always based on sound science.

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About the author

Akshay Surendra
Akshay Surendra is a Bangalore-based final year physics student interested in wildlife conservation, ecology and wildlife photography.


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