Bar-headed geese sighted first time in Kashmir wetland

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 visit Gharana wetland in Jammu during winters was sighted in Manibugh wetland of Pampore 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 distance migratory bords as a stopover site.

The statement said more than six lakh migratory waterfowl throng Kashmir wetlands during winters and use these wetlands as a staging or stopover site during the winters.

“These wetlands besides supporting many species of aquatic plants provide critical wintering and breeding habitat for diversity of migratory and resident birds particularly ducks, geese coots and waders,” said the statement.

The statement said the wetlands of Kashmir were of great ecological, social, economic and cultural significance to people. These wetlands fall in the Central Asian Flyway Zone (CAF).

The Union Ministry of Environment has developed a national action plan for conservation of migratory birds for the period 2018-2023, said the statement.

“The plan has been drawn to support meeting national commitments related to protection and conservation of migratory birds and their habitats under the Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as waterfowl habitats (Ramsar), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES),” said the statement.

It said sighting of the species of waterfowl in the wetland of Kashmir adds importance, charm and glory to it besides other protected wetlands 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 a welcome step said,” said Regional Wildlife Warden Kashmir, Rashid Y Naqash.

He said this was the result of the fact that the Department of Wildlife Protection was working tirelessly to offer safe and conducive habitat conditions for the migratory birds during their annual to and fro journeys.

“Over the years now the wetlands of Kashmir are recognised on national and international platforms as the best and suitable habitats for lakhs of such winter migratory species in terms of their number and the varieties,” said the statement.  

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