NATURE’S COMEBACK | Wular’s embrace beckons, rare birds choose Kashmir home

Bandipora, Dec 27: A huge number of migratory birds have arrived this season in Wular Lake located in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district, officials said Wednesday.

Earlier, the field staff spotted a rare migratory bird that had arrived for the first time at Wular Lake last year.

“The horned Grebes were recorded for the first time in Wular Lake last year,” Wular Conservation and Management Authority (WUCMA) coordinator Mudasir Mehmood told Greater Kashmir.

He said that the birds had returned this season, depicting a positive sign of eco-restoration of the lake.

Meanwhile, apart from anti-poaching squads, WUCMA has added a layer of security around the Wular Lake peripheries to further curb poaching activities.

“We have brought a multipronged approach to curb poaching in Wular Lake,” Mehmood said.

He said that CCTV cameras were installed to have round-the-clock surveillance of the lake area and to nab anybody involved in illegal activities, especially bird poaching.

The authority has installed high-definition cameras on bird-watching towers, dotting the Wular Lake areas.

Mehmood said WUCMA had strengthened the anti-poaching grid by having a technology layer along with regular patrolling by anti-poaching squads using motor boats for the purpose.

Even though the real count of migratory bird arrivals has not been estimated yet, the ground officials are reporting that an immense number of birds graced Wular Lake this season.

“Census will be done in January and February as the migratory season has just started and a lot more birds are expected to come. Presently, approximately 30,000 plus birds have arrived in the lake,” Mehmood said.

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“It is way more than what has been seen in the past two years,” Showkat Maqbool, a forest guard with WUCMA said. “It is a heaven for bird watchers right now.”

Maqbool who is a field official and lives on Wular banks in S K Payeen village said that the migratory birds were spread across several square km inside the lake.

“The migratory birds are sensitive in terms of safety, and given minimal poaching activities, the large arrivals of birds to the lake can be attributed to it too,” he said.

The officials also attribute the huge migratory bird arrivals to the safe environment in the area.

“For the past two years, poaching has been minimal due to surveillance of anti-poaching squads,” the officials said.

In December, the Forest Protection Force recovered two more punt guns, taking the number in two years to 12.


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