‘Urban wildlife’ in the heart of Guwahati

Urban Wildlife Story 2 of 15 – The News Mill

Guwahati has witnessed a rapid growth in the recent years – the city landscape has changed with newer buildings taking up the horizon. While the city has become home to lakhs of population – in search of better educational options, jobs, healthcare and a better lifestyle, Ulubari in the heart of Guwahati, was the home to Greater Adjutant Stork.

Scientifically known as Leptoptilos dubius, these massive beautiful birds comes under the category as ‘endangered’ under the IUCN Red list.

With industrialization, the Greater Adjutant Stork habitat in Ulubari has also seen rapid deterioration. I live very near to the area which was once a proper habitat for the large number of storks.

Rapid urbanization has caused a lot of problems globally, humans have successfully made new settlements but by causing problems to ecosystems around. Similarly Ulubari area in Guwahati was once filled with large number of Greater Adjutant Storks because of small wetlands in the area and large number of tall trees creating a suitable habitat for them. But now there are only a few of them which are left as urbanization has destroyed their habitat.

Coexistence, it seems that the ones that are living in the area have somehow accepted the noisy environment caused by us and have started living with us in the chaos. It’s sad that we fail to notice the wildlife that surrounds us and end up destroying their habitats and until we think of conserving, it becomes too late.

As we suffer a global pandemic, which experts believe could have a connection with the wildlife; we must learn that nature needs to be conserved. We must learn to grow without harming our ecosystems and by conserving what we have destroyed.

There are roughly 12 of Greater Adjutant Storks which are left in the area and it’s a matter of concern for all of us what will happen to their future. Even if these small numbers of storks adapted to the environment, it is our responsibility to avoid interference in their environment.

Human Animal Conflict

There are a lot of news related to human animal conflict that we read today and we are still struggling to avoid such conflicts. In Ulubari, where the storks have been living from a long time (I was born in the 90’s and I have known them since), there are no such case of conflict reported by the locals. Probably this is one of the reasons why they are still living here. But it is a matter of concern that there could be conflict situation in future as the number of trees in the area is decreasing due to human greed. The Kasturba Gandhi Ashram provides shelter to the storks as the campus have a number of tall trees, but will these trees be enough?

A Role For Each One Of Us

We all have a role to play towards nature, starting from raising voices against environment injustice to contributing towards nature through all possible ways. I was always inspired by nature, all the chaos that we have today goes away when we spend our time in nature – observing, learning from all the creations around. We are made superior and intelligent among all the other living beings and it is not just a privilege but a very important responsibility towards all the other beings. I am a visual story teller and I tell stories of wildlife through photographs and films, likewise we all have our different talents and rights to speak, act for environment conservation. We need not have to go searching for wildlife, we all have them around just like my backyard.

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About Arunav Baruah


Arunav Baruah is a Guwahati-based independent filmmaker and a photographer


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