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November 20, 2009

About half a million birds wetland in Kashmir

     Srinagar: About half a million migratory birds have arrived for their annual sojourn at the Hokersar wetlands in Kashmir from Central Asia, adding colour to Kashmir's wetlands and fresh water lakes in the winter. Some of the popular migratory birds visiting the region are waterfowls, goose, shoveller, red-crested pochard, white-eyed pochard, common teal, mallard, pintail, gadwall, wigeon, coot and greylag. The winged visitors from Siberia , China , Central Asia, North Europe and the Indian subcontinent add colour to Kashmir 's wetlands and fresh water lakes in the winter. These birds begin their flight to Kashmir in early September and stay on till spring. "Till December, we will wait for the migratory birds. They'll keep coming, and their number would rise. About 4.5 lakh birds are here already," claimed Ghulam Hassan Dar, a wildlife guard. Wetland authorities are hopeful that the migratory birds will cross last year's record of nine lakh birds. Wildlife warden in charge of the Kashmir wetlands division, Ghulam Ahmad Lone, said steps like improved water level in the wetlands, better infrastructure and intensified patrolling have ensured an improved bird population. "We are taking anti-poaching measures here at this time. During the militancy period we could not conduct night patrolling. But now that difficulty is no more there. Our staff members go there for night patrolling and during the evening as well. Our staff members have helped us in decreasing the number of poachers. And even if at any point of time we catch hold of a poacher, we would take strict action as per the wildlife act," said Lone. The Kashmir Valley has a number of lakes like the Wullar, Manasbal, Anchar, Dal and Nagin where migratory birds congregate.
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