KASHMIR: A BOND OF TRUST | Winged guests start arriving

‘Govt making efforts to provide feasible environment to migratory birds, stopping poaching’
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

Srinagar: Maintaining the centuries-old tryst with Kashmir, the migratory birds have started arriving here from far-off lands in an attempt to escape the harsh winter months of other countries for the relatively-less harsh cold of Kashmir.

Thousands of winged guests from various European and western countries have started flowing to this part of the world.

“These birds fly in from Siberia, China, Philippines, Eastern Europe, and Japan,” officials of the Wildlife Department said. “The winged visitors start arriving in Kashmir towards the mid of October.”

Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Brahminy Duck, Garganey, Greylag Goose, Mallard, Common Merganser, Northern Pintail, Common Pochard, Ferruginous Pochard, Red-Crested Pochard, Ruddy Shelduck, Northern Shoveler, Common Teal, and Eurasian Wigeon are some of the most sighted birds in the wetlands of Kashmir.

The migratory birds these days are landing in famous wetlands of Kashmir including Hokersar, Wular Lake, Haigam, Shalbugh, and other water bodies.

The visiting bird species stay in the wetlands of Kashmir for five months up to March before leaving for their respective regions.

However, the threat of poaching to these birds over the years is a major concern for these migratory birds as well as the department, which according to the concerned officials has been stopped to a great extent.

“Like every year, the migratory birds have started arriving in Kashmir and hundreds of these have reached Kashmir wetlands,” Wildlife Warden Wetlands, Ifshan Dewan told Greater Kashmir.

She said that to provide a feasible ambience to these visiting avian guests, the Wildlife Department had taken several measures to maintain the sufficient water level in all the wetlands of Kashmir. “Poaching was one of the reasons that had caused some worry during the past few years. But during the past some time since the arrival of these migratory birds, the field staff of the department has increased their vigil, reducing the poaching threat,” Dewan said. “We are conducting regular checks around these wetlands to ensure that there is no illegal hunting of these birds. We have formed squads to stop this illegal practice of killing migratory birds.”

She said that this year Shallabugh Wetland in Ganderbal would be restored and more preservation measures would be taken to make it feasible for migratory birds.

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