By Ambar Anand Naik
The students of Shree Damodar Higher Secondary School of Science, Margao were taken on a study trip to Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Chorao.
Salim Ali was known as India’s birdmam. He was an ornithologist and conservationists. His meticulous work resulted in the protection of several important bird areas in the country. This sanctuary is named in his honour.
The main motto of the trip was to show us the different types of mangroves and their importance. We were first taken to the central library. There is a walkway behind the library along the St Inez creek. After spending a little time we began our journey. We enjoyed travelling by the ferry.
Upon entering the sanctuary Chandrakant Shinde provided us with a lot of information on mangroves. There are different types of mangroves such as black mangroves, loop root mangroves, etc. Mangroves are very important and beneficial. They are a source of terrestrial life as well as sources of natural resources like food, fuel, building material, medicines, etc. Mangroves trap sediments to build new land. They provide shelter to aquatic life and also protect the shoreline from wave action ie mangrove forests are not affected by Tsunamis and floods as the roots of trees in mangroves are spread all over the ground due to which the soil hold on to them tightly.
We received a lot of information on mangroves, birds and animals usually seen there. We also noted information on the species.
Osprey is a bird that dives into the water to catch its prey. It has a reversible toe that helps it catch prey from the front or back.
One of the male fiddler crab’s claws is larger than the rest. The small claw resembles the movement a bow across a fiddle.
Goan practice the khazan system of farming which is a traditional community managed farming system. Khazan farming is done in reclaimed coastal wetlands and alternates between rice cultivation and small scale fish farming and sometimes salt panning. This traditional farming method requires the construction of stone and clay embankment (bandh) and sluice gates (manos) at strategic locations to regulate the water flow according to various activities.
We were accompanied by Tallulah D’Silva who provided information on khazan, mangroves, wildlife and other interesting things.
As a geography student I understood that geography cannot be studied in a closed room. We should explore different places in different conditions to understand it.