Heritage site status for Coringa mangroves likely

The government has begun the process to get UNESCO’s World Heritage Site status for Godavari Mangroves at Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary, near Kakinada, touted to be the second largest mangroves in India.

The Environment, Forests, Science and Technology (EFS&T) Department has constituted a seven-member committee for fulfilment of norms required for proposing the Godavari Mangroves (mada forests), at Coringa, as World Heritage Site, according to a GO issued for the purpose.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) and Chief Wildlife Warden will be the chairman and Chief Conservator of Forests, Rajahmundry circle, will be the vice-chairman.

Other members of the committee are K. Thulasi Rao, Director, Biodiversity Research and Extension, AP State Biodiversity Board, Thupalli Ravi Sankar, EGREE Project state coordinator and expert in mangroves, P. Chenna Reddy, former Archaeology and Museums director and expert in heritage and culture, Sankar, director of SACON, Coimbatore, and Anantha Sankar, DFO, Rajahmundry, according to the GO.

A wide variety of birds nest in Coringa sanctuary due to huge quantity of feed available in the backwaters in the forests. Some endangered species such as long billed vulture and spot billed pelican, white ibis and other birds are nesting in the sanctuary.

About 120 species of birds like pond heron, flamingos, little egret, pied kingfisher, night heron, small blue kingfisher, little stint, black-capped kingfisher, reef heron, grey heron, little cormorant, sandpiper, red-wattled lapwing, crow pheasant, sea gull, purple heron and other common bird species are seen in Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary.

Besides, good population of golden jackal, sea turtle, fishing cat, smooth-coated otter are found. The sanctuary has an 18-km-long sand pit where olive ridley sea turtles nest from January to March every year. There are 24 tree species in the mangroves.

Report in two months

The committee is likely to submit its report in two months for declaring Godavari Mangroves, at Coringa, as World Heritage Site to the UNESCO.

Once the Coringa sanctuary gets the heritage site tag, UNESCO will help develop tourism and protect the wildlife in the mangroves.

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