In a first, a flock of Bar-headed geese was sighted at a wetland in Kashmir on Sunday.
A statement said the geese which breed in Ladakh and visitGharana wetland in Jammu during winters was sighted in Manibugh wetland ofPampore in south Kashmir's Pulwama district.
"A flock of 23 Bar-headed geese were seen and recorded by the officials of the Department of Wildlife Protection and a researcher of Kashmir University, Iqram ul Haq during early morning hours on December 6," said the statement.
The Kashmir wetlands particularly Hokersar, Haigam,Shalabugh, Chatlum, Manibugh and Krentchooare are visited by long distancemigratory bords as a stopover site.
The statement said more than six lakh migratory waterfowlthrong Kashmir wetlands during winters and use these wetlands as a staging orstopover site during the winters.
"These wetlands besides supporting many species of aquaticplants provide critical wintering and breeding habitat for diversity ofmigratory and resident birds particularly ducks, geese coots and waders," saidthe statement.
The statement said the wetlands of Kashmir were of greatecological, social, economic and cultural significance to people. Thesewetlands fall in the Central Asian Flyway Zone (CAF).
The Union Ministry of Environment has developed a nationalaction plan for conservation of migratory birds for the period 2018-2023, saidthe statement.
"The plan has been drawn to support meeting nationalcommitments related to protection and conservation of migratory birds and theirhabitats under the Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species of WildAnimals (CMS), the Convention on Wetlands of International Importanceespecially as waterfowl habitats (Ramsar), the Convention on BiologicalDiversity (CBD), and the Convention on International Trade of EndangeredSpecies (CITES)," said the statement.
It said sighting of the species of waterfowl in the wetlandof Kashmir adds importance, charm and glory to it besides other protectedwetlands also which are located in its close proximity such as Freshkhori,Chatlum and Krentchoo.
"The first-time arrival of these guests in our wetlands is awelcome step said," said Regional Wildlife Warden Kashmir, Rashid Y Naqash.
He said this was theresult of the fact that the Department of Wildlife Protection was workingtirelessly to offer safe and conducive habitat conditions for the migratorybirds during their annual to and fro journeys.
"Over the years now the wetlands of Kashmir are recognisedon national and international platforms as the best and suitable habitats forlakhs of such winter migratory species in terms of their number and thevarieties," said the statement.