Monday, November 29, 1999

Sparring over african fish in gurgaon lake continues

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New Delhi, June 17 -- For the guardians of Gurgaon's Sultanpur National Park & Bird Sanctuary (SNP&BS), whose alleged negligence led to the drying of the indoor lake that is its lifeline, their aversion to an aquatic resident - African black fish - is a matter of fight unto finish. In a bid to ensure that African black fish do not enter or breed in the facility's lake ever again, SNP&BS' management has undertaken a project to attach custom-made nets to plug the openings of the pipelines that bring water from the Western Yamuna canal located three kilometers away. This exercise will be complete by Saturday. The reason: the African black fish, which devoured fish seedlings and other smaller fish bred in the lake by the management to feed the 250 species of resident and migratory birds, come in through the canal. "The African black fish do not serve as feed for birds and there is no need to save whatever is left of them in the lake's small pools. The Fisheries department only puts in 5 lakh seedlings of freshwater fish like Rohu and Katla in the lake; the African black fish had come in via the canal water supplied to the lake between September to February," SNP & BS's Wildlife Inspector Shahid Khan told HT. Though the parched earth of the lake's bed is strewn with fish bones and carrions of Neelgai, hundreds of African black are still trapped in puddles and waging a desperate battle for space and air. When HT asked Khan if he was planning to relocate the African black fish to save them from certain death, he said, "It is banned. We cannot remove them from a national park.".

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