Anti-Poaching Boat Launched In Dal Lake To Protect Migratory Birds

SRINAGAR - With about five to six lakh migratory birds flocking to Kashmir valley from different parts of the world every year during winter season, a first of its kind Anti-Poaching boat has been launched in world famous Dal Lake in this summer capital.

J&K Wildlife Department has taken this unique step to curtail poaching of migratory birds in Dal Lake, which has witnessed huge influx of these birds due to shrinking of Hokersar wetland, about 10 km north of Srinagar.

An official said that the department has launched the first anti-poaching boat for the safety of migratory birds in Dal Lake. “Protection of these migratory birds is our moral responsibility as they come here as our guests,” he added.

Over five to six lakh birds from different parts of the world -- including Siberia, China, Central Asia and North Europe -- take refuge every year in many wetlands and lakes in the valley.

Hokersar wetland, which has been used as a satellite by birds to assemble and then move to different wetland and lakes in the valley, is facing threat of extension due to human intervention over decades. The wetland in the city outskirts has shrunk from 18.75 km in 1969 to 7.5 km in 2017.

“Lakhs of migratory birds, including grey leg geese, mallard, ducks, pochards, Peasant Tail Jasana come from Siberia, China, Central Asia and North Europe to Kashmir valley every years,” the official said.

He said the birds first arrive in Hokersar wetland and then shift to other wetlands in the valley. However, he said due to shrinking of Hokersar wetland, the birds move in large number to Dal Lake and even open fields.

He said the water entering from Doodganga stream has posed major threat to the wetland and demanded its diversion or stoppage in order to bring back the pristine glory of Hokersar.

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