Birdwatcher warns over Milleyha Bird Sanctuary
Ece Çelik – ISTANBUL
A well-known birdwatcher has set alarms for Milleyha Bird Sanctuary in the southern province of Hatay, saying that the wetlands and the pond of the natural beauty will dry up because of the dumping of debris and a canal constructed at the site.
Uploading some photos of debris and the water canal on his social media accounts, Emin Yoğurtçuoğlu warned that the drying of the ponds “could cause deaths of birds in the near future.”
According to official records, Milleyha has been a shelter for 282 bird species for the last 23 years.
“I walked some 21 kilometers inside the sanctuary and saw a huge canal near the pond,” he said.
“The water of the pond has filled the canal but is destined to dry. So, all the pond’s remaining water will vanish with time,” he added.
He also said that what he saw in Milleyha “reminded him of what happened in Lake Tuz.”
Some 5,000 baby flamingos died in Lake Tuz, Turkey’s second-biggest lake located in Central Anatolia, due to the water shortage just this year.
Yoğurtçuoğlu’s other concern was the debris dumped in the sanctuary.
“Debris was dumped, and soil embankment was made over the 1,000-year-old ecosystem. I looked at it with tears,” Yoğurtçuoğlu said. “I was ashamed for humanity seeing the birds walking amid the debris.”
Some main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmakers supported Yoğurtçuoğlu’s cries for help to Milleyha and asked local authorities to investigate the matter.