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| Last Updated:: 21/12/2015

Encroachment may drive JK's winged winter visitors away







Nearly four lakh migratory birds from as far as Central Asia and Europe have arrived in Kashmir but the winged visitors might be forced to look for alternative winter homes in near future due to increasing encroachments, waste disposal and noise pollution.


Brahminy Duck, Tufted Duck, Gadwall, 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 birds  which feed on insects, worms and fish in these water bodies -- present a beautiful picture, changing the colour of the Valley landscape amidst the onset of winter.


The winged visitors start arriving in the Valley towards the first week of November as Kashmir presents them a hospitable alternative home compared to the extreme freezing conditions in their natural habitats in Siberia, China, Japan and other countries in northern hemisphere, an official of the Wildlife Department said.


"We have recorded more than 3.5 lakh bird arrivals in the wetlands of Kashmir since November this year," Wildlife Warden (Wetlands) Roauf Zargar said.


More birds are likely to arrive in the next couple of weeks as the temperature is expected to drop in some of the places where these birds come from. While there has been no obvious effect of climate change on number and species of birds arriving here, Zargar said encroachment of the wetlands and unscientific waste disposal around these ecosystems was playing havoc.


"The wetlands are shrinking due to encroachments which has resulted in drop in the number of birds visiting Kashmir in view shrinking food availability. "The other major cause of concern is the waste material coming from areas inhabited by humans around the wetlands. If the unscientific way of waste disposal continues, we will be in for major problems," he added