Safety of migratory birds

Authorities must ensure strict implementation of the ban on hunting in wetlands
Migratory birds take a flight over wet lands of Hokarsar on the outskirts of Srinagar. [File]
Migratory birds take a flight over wet lands of Hokarsar on the outskirts of Srinagar. [File]Mubashir Khan for Greater Kashmir

As the migratory birds have started arriving at the wetlands in Kashmir, the government must ensure strict implementation of the ban imposed on their hunting. Thousands of birds are killed every year by the hunters. The killing spree disturbs their arrival and presence. At some places, organised groups of hunters operate, who indulge into poaching. Be it Hokersar, Shalbugh, Haigam, Wullar Lake or any other wetland, where the migratory birds arrive from different parts of the world for winter stay.

The manpower of the wetland wing of wildlife protection department should be strengthened so that adequate personnel are available to guard these wetlands. More the manpower strength, more can be the vigil. There are also allegations that some employees of the department, by resorting to corrupt practices, allow the hunters access inside the wetlands for hunting. If the allegations are true, immediate action must be taken against those involved into such malpractices.

The people, residing in the villages around the wetlands, and indulging into poaching must be discouraged from doing so. These wetlands have already suffered massive damage due to encroachments and shrunk drastically during last several decades. Whatever area of wetlands has been left now, needs to be preserved. The concerned department must also ensure that no more encroachment occurs.

If the encroachments continues, the wetlands can disappear. The wetlands need to be protected from both encroachment and  poaching. Reports indicate that  some  persons do hunting just for fun and some do so to  sell the birds. Whether they do it for fun or selling the birds in market, their actions must stop.

Officials of wildlife department say that the hunting has been drastically reduced during last few years. According to them,  staff  has increased its vigil. Regular checks  are being conducted around the wetlands to ensure that there is no illegal hunting of the birds. But it is also a fact that the poaching in wetlands has not been completely stopped. There needs to be a complete implementation of the ban, so that large number of migratory birds do not get killed by the hunters every year.

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