January 8th, 2012 12:22 EST
Wildlife Protection Officials to Bring An End to Massacre of Migratory Birds in Kashmir Valley
Srinagar: As soon as Kashmir valley approaches towards winter season, migratory birds flock to their winter homes "wetlands" in the Valley, authorities set in motion `special teams` to protect them from poachers. Yet poachers do not stay away from the hunting race.
Wetlands like Hokarsar, Haigam, Mirgund, Shallaugh are natural settlement for these migratory birds. These wetlands are paradise for these guest birds, which travel thousands of miles from Russia, China, Eastern Europe and the Philippines to spend their winter vocation here.
It is believed that every year more than one million migratory birds visit wetlands of Valley like graylag, gees, mallards, pintails, wagons, gadwalls, sand hill cranes, coot, terns and cormorant.
Wildlife protection officials claim that they are protecting these guest birds and had caught dozens of poachers with their guns last year in surrounding areas of the Hokarsar. Though a highly placed source tells Agence India Press that dozens of migratory birds are being shot and caught alive every day in surrounding areas of Hokarsar.
Sources reveal to Agence India Press that poachers take advantage of darkness to shot birds and install `Walwash` (a special type trap used to catch birds in Kashmir). "One of the reason of killing and catching of these birds is that the poachers gift these birds to the officials and authorities and make easy access to the surrounding areas as well as into the wetland," adds the source.
Experts believe that killing of migratory birds will affect ecosystem as well as the tourism industry of the Valley and demanded stern actions against the erring people which will eventually bring an end of the massacre of guest birds.
Mangat Ram Sharma, a Zoology Professor at Shri Pratap College says: "The migratory reach the area when the plenty of food is available, in case of the decrease in population or less migration, the food on which they feed will not be utilized, as such some sort of imbalance in the food will emerge, which will affect the other populations or the environment in which it becomes uneasy, Some of the migratory birds feed upon such type of material which otherwise is source of nauseous or pollution for the source itself."
He said the migratory birds feed upon unwanted weeds and material and keep water body clean, besides this migratory birds play an important role in the tourism industry, a large number of bird lovers across the country visit the migratory birds` places and add to the economy of the state.
"It can be summed up that ideology of the two distant or neighboring nations may not be the same but there migratory birds serve as the bridge," adds Sharma.
A senior hunter Ghulam Qadir, 65, tells Agence India Press that some years back they were only three hunters in his locality but now-a-days there are dozens of hunters. The reason behind this according to him is that `non license guns and availability ammunition to poachers. `
"It is fact that the authorities are taking many steps to protect these birds in wetland but when these birds are disturbed in wetlands they fly to surrounding areas where poachers shot and trap them easily," says Qadir.
A bird lover Mohammad Akbar, 45, told that his father was a hunter who taught him names of the migratory birds in Kashmir like HILLOW, KANZUR, AUNZ, GADRE MONG, KHREW AUNZ, CHAKOW, NULIJ, THUJ, SUKHPUCHIN, BUDUN, CHAROW, KHRUKH, HOUNHK, HARWAT, QUIS, NOUR, KARAL and BREGH. He waits to watch these birds every year and believes that their number is decreased.
When contacted Wild Life warden, Abdul Rouf Zargarto comments on this issue, (he said I am busy with some work and disconnected call).
"Every morning I find two to three birds wounded in the surrounding of the Hokarsar, I am surprised how these poachers shot them in the restricted areas," says upset Akbar.
"History is being witnessed that wetlands of Kashmir not only attract migratory birds but also a huge number of bird watchers across the world. However, hunting of migratory birds is going on from centuries by Mughals, celebrities, tourists and poachers. Valley is losing precious product of tourism industry, authorities have to think differently to protect this precious treasury and glory affecting ecosystem as well as tourism industry of the valley," adds Sharma. (AIP News)
By Is`haq Bhat
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