JAMMU: With the onset of winter the migratory birds from Central Asian highlands start congregating at various wetlands in India. At least 370 migratory bird species including 310 water bird species throng various sites in India during winters. Gharana Wetland Conservation Reserve in RS Pura sector also attracts hundreds of migratory birds every winter including the bar–headed goose– a bird of unique high altitude migration that fly over high passes of Himalaya, even Mt. Everest , during their sojourn.
It is delight for every visitor to watch bird species like bar-headed geese, gadwalls, common teals, Purple swamp hens, Indian moor hens, black-winged stilts, cormorants, egrets, green shanks and many other species at Gharana. As different bird species have started thronging Gharana and adjoining wetlands, the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) J&K /Chief Wildlife Warden Suresh Chugh visited Gharana to take stock of the preparedness and measures being taken for safe stay of the migratory birds during the winter season and bring further improvement for conservation of the wetland.
The Regional Wildlife Warden Jammu Tahir Shawl apprised the PCCF about the detail of migratory bird species that have arrived at Gharana and the measure being taken by the department to make the habitat more suitable through scientific management interventions like selective removal of weed, monitoring of birds and watch and ward for averting any hunting or poaching attempt.
He further apprised the officials about management plan of Gharana wetland prepared by the department which is being finalised shortly. The Wildlife Warden Jammu Ch. Shehzad informed about the adequate availability of binoculars, spotting scopes for bird watching at Gharana. He further highlighted that Gharana located along the Central Asian Flyway is a notified wetland conservation reserve under the Jammu & Kashmir Wildlife Protection Act 1978, and also has international recognition as one of the IBAs (Important Bird Areas) in the world, declared by Birdlife International (UK) and BNHS.
The PCCF divulged that research studies on bird migration using satellite telemeters, bird ringing and collaring etc have been conducted at Gharana by the Wildlife Protection Department and further research programmes to continue such studies are being contemplated by the department. It was given out that around 408 kanals of water body has been delineated with poles as per the directions of the High Court while acquisition for private land is in progress. The PCCF/Chief wildlife Warden was accompanied by Ramesh Kumar, CCF Projects and planning and other officers of the Forest Department.