Wildlife Reserves 'Out Of Bounds' For Public In Kashmir


(MENAFN- Kashmir Observer) Srinagar- To ensure that the migratory birds remain safe from poaching, the Wildlife Protection Department of Jammu and Kashmir, on Friday, declared Wetland Reserves in Kashmir as“out of bounds” for the public.

According to an order, a copy of which lies with Kashmir Observer, the Wildlife Protection Department said that they have time and again published the prohibitions regarding venturing into the Protected Areas / Wetland Reserves.

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“Now, through this Public Notice it is again reiterated and circulated for the information of general masses, that, In exercise of powers conferred / vested with the undersigned in terms of the Wildlife Protection Act, the protected areas and adjoining areas falling under the jurisdiction of Wetlands Division are 'Declared Out Of Bonds' for the general masses without valid permission in view of the migratory season,” reads the notice.

The Wetlands include Hokersar, Hygam, Shallabugh, Mirgund, Chattlum, Fashkoori, Manibugh and Kranchoo.

It further states that any person found venturing inside these Wetland Conservation Reserve illegally without valid permission shall be dealt with sternly under the relevant provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

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Thousands of birds come to Himalayan region during winter when freezing temperatures in their summer habitats in Central Asia and Russia make food scarce. They start arriving in October and stay until the end of April but the birds that seasonally visit Kashmir's wetlands are being rampantly hunted.

Altaf Husaain Dentoo, Wildlife Warden, Wetlands, Kashmir told Kashmir Observer that a move has been initiated to ensure that the migratory birds remain safe from poachers.

“There was apprehension that some people would kill the birds for fun. They are still here for a month remaining here so we want that nobody should harm them and they return to their destinations safely,” Dentoo said.

He further said they have taken strong action against the poachers and have registered a few FIRs and recovered guns from them.

Pertinent to mention, the unabated poaching of the Migratory birds has remained a challenge for the officials.

The birds include teal, common pochard, merganser, northern shoveler, northern pintail, Eurasian wigeon, red-crested pochard, tufted duck, sheldrake duck,
mallard, coot, gadwall, Brahminy duck, cormorant, Greylag goose.

These birds can be found in many wetlands across Kashmir such as Hygam, Pampore, Badi Nambal, Shallabugh, Anchar, Dal-Lake, Wular Lake, Chatlum, Kranchoo, Manibugh, Freshkhoori, Hokersar, and Mirgund

Regrettably, hunters have been reported to employ homemade guns to illegally hunt these birds before dawn, posing a significant threat to their conservation.

Apart from poaching, climatic change and encroachment of the wetlands have shrunken their space in the valley. Kashmir Observer earlier reported that with authorities pumping men and machinery to restore the pristine glory of wetlands, the valley is witnessing a huge number of new birds spotted for the first time in the wetlands by the birdwatchers.

Notably, the Union territory administration this year undertook a mega project to rejuvenate Hokersar Wetlands, one of the eight Ramsar sites in the valley. The authorities are developing the wetland as an ecotourism destination as it attracts lakhs of migratory birds.

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