Andhra Pradesh

Uppalpadu Sanctuary records rise in footfall

GUNTUR: Uppalapadu Bird Sanctuary in Pedakakani mandal of Guntur district has witnessed a rise in tourist footfall. Just 15 km away from Guntur city, this bird resort is a popular tourist spot in the district as nearly 30,000 birds of 25 different species arrive every year for the past 50 years for breeding.

Spot-billed pelicans, openbill storks, white ibises, glossy ibises, coots, little cormorants, spot-billed ducks and many other birds migrate from Australia, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Pakistan every year. These birds arrive here between September and March. The bird sanctuary was reopened in May after remaining closed for several months due to the pandemic.

From the usual 50 to 70 tourists, who used to visit during the holidays, around 300 people have been visiting the sanctuary each day for the last one week. The numbers are likely to increase on Dasara and the following weekend.

Speaking on the occasion, Uppalapadu Bird Sanctuary development committee in charge Anil Kumar said that as the birds’ arrival from other countries has started and this is the best time to visit the sanctuary. “However, compared to the years before the pandemic, the number of tourists has decreased. We are strictly enforcing all the Covid-19 regulations. The visitors are only allowed after sanitizing their hands and wearing face masks is mandatory on the premises,” he added.

As the bird population is increasing in recent years, the committee is planning to launch development works worth `3.6 crore, including the extension of the pond. On the other hand, in order to attract more tourists, the forest department is planning to develop an Environmental Education Centre at the village to facilitate the students who visit the sanctuary as part of their educational tours.