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SRINAGAR: The Commissioner Secretary, Forests, Environment & Ecology Department,  Saurabh Bhagat  today reviewed the performance and achievements of wildlife Department in Jammu region including the progress on Jambu zoo project. The meeting was attended by Special Secretary (Technical)   Romesh Kumar , Director Finance, Forest Department   M.Y.Itoo , Regional Wildlife Warden/Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Jammu Region   Tahir Shawl , Assistant Director, planning Forest Department  Aashiq Khanday  and Wildlife Warden Jambu Zoo   Vinay Khajuria.

The Commissioner Secretary stressed upon the need of further expansion of existing and development of new protected areas for conservation of wildlife in Jammu region. He highlighted that the wildlife and wilderness areas in Jammu region particularly in Doda, Bhadarwah, Kishtwar, Rajouri, Poonch, Kathua and Udhampur are rich in biodiversity and exhibit beautiful wilderness landscape.

The Regional Wildlife Warden Jammu informed that the wildlife protected areas in Jammu Region like Surisar-Mansar wildlife Sanctuary, Kishtwar High altitude national park, Sudh Mahadev wildlife Conservation reserve, Nandni Wildlife sanctuary, Jasrota Wildlife sanctuary, Tata-kutti Wildlife sanctuary, Thein Wildlife conservation reserve are treasure house of rich biodiversity including endangered species like Pirpanjal Markhor, Musk deer, Garai, barking deer, Hog deer, Sambar or Barasingha, Himalayan grey langur, leopard, Asiatic black bear, Leopard cat, Jungle cat, Civet cat, pangolin, Weasels, Mona! pheasant, Chir pheasant, Kalij pheasant, and many reptile species including python, cobra, viper and turtles. He further informed that the wet lands in Jammu region like Gharana receive a large number of migratory water fowl including bar headed geese, cranes and storks etc.

The Commissioner Secretary stressed upon taking up the demarcation of wetlands and acquisition of land with respect to large number of wetlands in Jammu region and further suggested that Ramsar sites like Mansar & Surisar which are also important tourist destination in Jammu region need more attention and conservation.

Appreciating the writing, photography and documenting skills of the Regional wildlife Warden Jammu, he expressed the urgency of bringing out numerous publications encapsulating rich biodiversity of Jammu region as a treatise on weird and beautiful wildlife species of birds, mammals, plants and wilderness landscape so that such documents on the flora and fauna of the region benefit the common masses and bring awareness and education about protecting our natural heritage. Discussing the Jambu zoo, he desired that the prestigious project exhibiting endangered species of wild animals for conservation and educational purpose, being established at Khanpur, near Nagrota, be completed at the earliest.