Visitors to Kutch
Read the passages given below and answer the questions that follow them:
1. Legends will tell you that flamingoes are no ordinary visitors to Kutch. They were the honoured guests of King Lakho and he had forbidden the hunting of flamingoes, which came to Kutch from various parts of the world every year to breed. For centuries the region has been a heaven for the migratory bird. Today, Flamingo City, an island in the middle of the Rann of Kutch, known the world over as one of the biggest breeding grounds of the Greater Flamingo, is strewn with bodies of hundreds of flamingo chicks. The parents of these chicks have fled from the island due to lack of food. Zooplanktons, algae and small fish that these birds survive on are dying due to a sudden increase in the salinity of the Rann waters. One can even see dead fish floating.
2. Flamingoes need salt-encrusted, damp mud to build nests. The place where they build their nests has to be inaccessible to predatory cats and birds. It should also have sufficient food. The right mix of sweet and brackish water in the Rann is crucial for the proliferation of planktons and algae that the flamingoes feed on. Faced with starvation flamingoes have fled the island leaving their chicks to fend for themselves. Till date around a thousand flamingoes have died.
3. Maharaj KumarShriHimmatsinghji, a member of the royal family of Kutch and an expert on the birds of Kutch, traces the problem of increased salinity in the Rann water to the construction of dams on rivers that flow into the region. He emphasizes that efforts should be made to ensure that, at least some water flows into the Rann. In fact over the years, the number of flamingoes coming to the island has decreased because of the change in salinity of the Rann water. In 1945, Salim Ali, the late ornithologist, had found 5 lakh birds on the island. Since then, the number has not gone above 2.2 lakh. However, the studies carried out on the Flamingo City so far cannot be taken as 100 per cent accurate because very few ornithologists have conducted regular studies on flamingoes in the area. The reason: the terrain is so inhospitable that it is simply not possible to visit the place every year.
Word-Meaning: Legend—old religious stories, Flamingoes—large pink and red birds with long legs living near the water, Forbidden—banned, Breed—to give birth, Region—area, Migratory—birds that keep changing places, Chicks—small ones, Algae—green substance on water, Survive—live on, Salinity—saltiness, Inaccessible—beyond reach, Predatory—those who hunt and kill, Crustal-–essential, Proliferation—large growth, Starvation—dying of hunger,Emphasises—stresses on, Ornithologist—one who studies birds, Terrain—features of the land, Inhospitable—unfriendly,
Attempt any eight of the following questions on the basis of the passage you have read.
1. What do legends tell us about flamingoes?
2. Why was the region heaven for the migratory bird?
3. What is the situation now in the Rann of Kutch?
4. Why have the parents of the chicks fled?
5. What do flamingoes need to build their nests?
6. What has Himmatsinghji recommended to solve the problem of salinity in the region?
7. What did Salim Ali find? Has the number remained the same since then?
8. Why is it not possible to visit the place every year?
9. Find a word in paragraph 3 that means ‘unfriendly’.
1. Legends tell us that flamingoes are no ordinary visitors to Kutch.
2. The region was a heaven for the migratory birds as it was an ideal breeding place for them.
3. Now, the biggest breeding grounds of the greater flamingoes are strewn with bodies of hundreds of chicks.
4. The parents of the chicks have fled from the island due to lack of food and a sudden increase in the salinity of the water.
5. Flamingoes need salt-encrusted, damp mud to build their nests.
6. Himmatsinghji has recommended that at least some water flows into the Rann to solve the problem of salinity.
7. Salim Ali had found 5 lakh birds in 1945. Their number has come down to 2.2 lakh now.
8. It is simply not possible to visit the place every year because the terrain is very inhospitable.
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