Saturday, 7 April 2018

The Basai Wetland is teeming with fish

Just today when I visited the Basai Wetland, being an off day, I was in for a surprise when I started taking photographs of a kite flying towards me! Gripped tightly in its claws was a Mangur Catfish that was alive. I could of see a couple of people fishing with lines and nets, but then what surprised me was that the fish in the claws of the kite was alive. It turned and twisted but to no avail. Many years back, in the middle nineties, we used to visit the Basai Wetlands for angling and were able to catch a few fish, often the smaller versions of the Saul or Snakehead fish. Incidentally, both the varieties of fish are the hardier species of freshwater fish found in India.These days I have put away my fishing rod and instead taken up a couple of DSLRs for the sake of more variety. 

A  lot of fish breed in the waters of the Basai Wetlands even though the water is being drained out. One can see fish jumping out of the water, and yes, people fishing for them. No wonder, that the Basai wetland continues to be the favourite haunt of migratory birds even though conservationists and people in power want to ignore the fact that this wetland has been in existence for ages.

A month back I was able to spot the carcases of some fish left high and dry on the bushes because of the draining out of the water. There were people who had laid down nets and some of them were wading into the water in order to get small fry. The fish in the kite's talons was alive and it was clear that the kite had grabbed hold of the fish either from the catch of one of the fishermen or it had indeed dived on to one of the fish left on the dry ground.

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