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4000 Bar-headed geese arrive at Gharana Wetland Reserve

Bureau Report
Agence India Press

Jammu: More than 4000 Bar-headed geese, including a half dozen with collars, have arrived at Gharana wetland Conservation Reserve on Indo-Pak border in border Tehsil R.S. Pura and an IBA site, code IN-JK-21, coordinate 320 50’ 28” N, 740 34’ 04” E, is beaming up with spectacular bird life this winter at the habitat.

Although the birds started flocking this wetland around mid November with species like Greylag geese, Common teal, Pintail, Mallard, Little cormorant and Bar-headed geese, a large flock of Bar-headed geese (Anser indicus) comprising of more than 4000 individuals was recorded on December 20 by the Wildlife Warden Jammu and field staff of Gharana wetland Conservation Reserve.

A very important feature of these sightings was the recording of four Bar-headed geese with red colour bands around their necks. The red colour bands were marked with numbers in white colour. As per the Wildlife Warden, Jammu Tahir Shawl, the numbers spotted on the collars are H97, H44, H12 and H76.

It is for the first time that the presence Bar-headed geese with neck collars are recorded in Gharana Wetland Conservation Reserve.

For further information about the place where these birds were collared, the leading scientists of the world working in the field of bird migration like Dr. Asad Rehamani Director Bombay Natural History Society, Martin Gilbert of Wildlife Conservation Society USA, Diann Prosser of USGS, Dr. Taej Mundkur of Wetland International, Lue Dongeing and Qian Fawen of National Bird Banding Centre of China have been contacted immediately. The exact location where these birds have been collared is yet to be confirmed. However, according to the information received from some of the scientists the red bands have been used either in Mongolia or Qinghai Province in China.

It is pertinent to mention that the Jammu and Kashmir state is the only state in India which holds breeding as well as wintering population of bar- headed geese. The high altitude areas in Ladakh, particularly Chang-Thang Wildlife Sanctuary, are the habitat of breeding population of bar-headed geese. A project to study the migration of bar headed geese, black necked crane and other important bird species using satellite telemeter is already in the pipeline in the state. The Department of Wildlife Protection is planning to put satellite telemeters on some bar- headed geese in Gharana wetland this winter.

Conservation measures are afoot to protect and conserve Gharana Wetland Conservation Reserve which is also an IBA (Important Bird Area) recognised internationally by the efforts of the wildlife Department.

During the recent visit of Forest Minister Mian Altaf Ahmad, accompanied by A.K. Singh, Chief wildlife Warden J&K and Upender Pachnanda, Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Jammu, measures to protect and conserve the wetland and make the stay of the visiting population of migratory birds comfortable were discussed. The Forest Minister also stressed upon the need of boosting eco- tourism in Gharana to attract visitors and improve livelihood options of the people residing around this wetland. (AIP News)

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