Friday, January 20, 2012

Pampore wetlands abuzz with migratory birds

Though their size has shrunk due to encroachments, the less known Pampore wetlands are nowadays abuzz with thousands of migratory birds who have crossed over thousands of kilometers to cherish Kashmir valley’s snow season.

Thousands of migratory birds including red crescent pochards, geese, pintails, herons, shorebirds, gadwall, cranes, ducks, and coots come to Kashmir valley. “Most of these birds could be seen in Pampore wetlands,” says advocate Nadeem Qadri, executive director of Center for Environmental Law (CEL).

Qadri, who heads a conservation project for Pampore wetlands granted by Wildlife Trust of India New Delhi last year, believes the major problems faced by Pampore wetlands are; human interference as they (Pampore wetlands) are very close to human habitation and agriculture fields.

“Use of chemical fertilizers in the agriculture fields is deteriorating the water quality of those wetlands and poses a serious threat to the aquatic life along with wild flora and fauna. In certain cases we came across the illegal encroachment and growing unplanned human habitation which we see as a growing problem,’ Qadri informed.

He said that during his field trips to these wetlands his team found some people are earth filling the portion of wetland but their (Qadri’s team) timely intervention stopped the work.

Solid waste management and its proper disposal, Qadri said is one of the main problems faced by the Pampore wetlands. “While discussing with local population we came to know that some vested interested persons have blocked the irrigation channels and inlet /outlet canal to the wetlands are defunct with the result water is stagnating in those wetlands resulting in pollutant accumulation which is serious threat to migratory birds & aquatic life,” he added.

The executive director CEL added that lack of proper sanitation facilities and the waste water find its way to the wetland and throwing domestic waste into wetlands had aggravated the situation. “Illegal encroachment in surroundings of wetlands and most of the inlet/outlet channels being chocked and blocked besides converting wetland into paddy fields are other major problems,” Qadri said.

The CEL has also formed a patrol and anti-poaching team headed by Qadri has been formulated. “In order to receive daily updates a Control Room has been established at our Head Office at Pampore and daily monitoring is done from there. Information about poaching, if any, provided by any member from team of volunteers is quickly acted upon,” Qadri added.

Fashkori Wetland Reserve
A notified wetland, Fashkori Wetland Reserve is located at Tulbagh, Pampore. “This wetlands is presently under administrative control of revenue department. As per the mandate of law these wetlands should be under the direct administrative control of Wildlife Protection Department, so that Migratory birds can be protected along with their habitat,” Qadri recommends.

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