Narcondam Island. Courtesy of Google Earth.
A plan to build a radar installation on a remote island puts the world’s only population of some 300 Narcondam Hornbills (Aceros narcondami) at risk, warns Conservation India.
The Indian Coast Guard has proposed a radar facility and diesel power generation station on Narcondam, a three-kilometer-by-four-kilometer island in the Andaman and Nicobar Island group. The plan includes a clearing forest for a new road and increased human presence on the island. According to the conservation group, the project has “high potential for chronic and increased disturbance to this lushly forested island and its small hornbill population.”
Narcondam Hornbill. Photo: Niranjan Sant
“The existing police outpost has itself caused some loss of habitat,” stated Conservation India on its web site. “It is dependent on the single freshwater source available on the island, and any additional human presence and installations will only compound the problems for the island and its unique flora and fauna.
Conservation India is urging Jayanthi Natarajan, the Minister of State for Environment and Forests, to reject the proposal. The group is asking supporters to send letters to the minister, whose decision will determine the fate of the project.