Thiruvananthapuram: A campaign to protect `sanke birds` (darter-Anhinga melanogaster), an endangered species, was launched in Kerala by starting a census on this waterbirds in the family of Anhingidae.
Minister for Culutre and Education M A Baby launched the campaign by taking census of the bird`s nests at the City Zoo here Friday.
Baby said the government was ready to implement a project to protect the snake birds, found in Alappuzha, Kottayam, Idukki, Waynad and Thiruvananthapuram districts and conserve its habitat.
Snake bird is a large slender long-necked water bird and is mostly black with silver wing markings.
As per a survey conducted in 1993 by International Waterfall and Wetland Research Bureau, there were only about 60 snake birds in Kerala and 1196 in the country, C Rahim, secretary of the Snake Bird Foundation, organisers of the porgramme, said.
The Foundation plans to conduct a survey of the birds cross the state in the coming days, he said.
To create an awareness among the public on the importane of preserving the habitat of these birds, the Foundation wanted state and Central governments to recognise snake bird as the official mascot of famous Nehru Trophy Alappuzha Boat Race, he said.