Once upon a time, there was this happy place called Kokkrebellur. Once upon a time.
Now, this age-old nesting site for the endemic Painted stork has become another casualty of human greed.
In Kannada, the word “kokkre” means stork. The very name of this village is derived from the storks that come here every February to breed. It is believed that this location has been the nesting ground for the Painted stork since a thousand years.
It has taken Homo sapiens less than a decade to ruin it.
What else do you expect from the most destructive species on the planet? Microwave towers, loudspeakers blaring, massive old trees chopped down, waterbodies gone dry, illegal sand mining, heaps of garbage – no effort has been spared to screw up Kokkrebellur as only humans can.
Once, there was a grove of Mahua trees that was three centuries old, and housed dozens of mating Indian grey hornbills and a hundred other species. Now there are charred stumps. And an illegal function hall in its place. Littered with discarded bottles, plastic, rotting food and all the usual shit that humans like to throw around.
I’ve written at length about Kokkrebellur in an earlier blogpost, written in the days when there was something to write about this unique village in Maddur district. But now there’s nothing left at Kokkrebellur to write about. The storks and pelicans have arrived this year too, but each year their numbers dwindle.
The Kabini river that provides sustenance to these great birds has gone totally dry. There are fewer trees to nest on, more vehicles, much more competition for what little space and resources are available.
Eventually, the storks will simply fly off to a better place.
When the Kokkre is gone from Kokkrebellur, then what?