Director: Regret Iyer Shravan
Nearly 30 years ago, the village of Kokkarebellur in Mandya district of Karnataka was home to more than 2000 pelicans and the numbers have now dwindled to a mere 400 birds. The cell phone-shot documentary, 'The vanishing wings of Kokkarebellur' is the work of Shravan Regret Iyer of Bengaluru. This 10-minute long documentary highlights the issues surrounding the decline in the number of fish-eating birds migrating to Kokkarebellur. The documentary was released by freedom fighter, H.S. Doreswamy in Bengaluru recently. Decades ago, the villagers used to pray God seeking that these fish-eating birds must nest near their houses so that they could use the droppings of these birds as natural fertilizers. Such was the significance of these birds to this village and the villagers. Times have changed and the villagers now prefer chemical fertilizers to natural fertilizers. Today, there are only about 200 trees left in the village where the birds nest. Rapid urbanization and environmental degradation by the mankind has reduced the number of favourable conditions required for these birds to nest here. Illegal sand mining along the river beds leads to the shrinking of water bodies which provide food for these migratory birds. Also, there are about four sugarcane factories, one each in Pandavapura, Koppa, K M Doddi and Mandya, which discharge their effluents into the river Shimsha thereby affecting the aquatic life. This in turn results in non-availability of food for these birds. There has been an increase in demand for firewood to cook food and also to burn bricks that are manufactured here for local use. This has caused the decline in the number of trees both in and around the village. Every season is a new life for these birds. How many more seasons of life do we intend to give these birds? With the nesting grounds soon disappearing, who will know of these birds if they are gone forever?