12% drop in migratory birds at Harike wetlands —

There has been a 12% drop in the number of migratory birds flying to Punjab’s famed Harike wetlands (India) since 2016.

According to the Punjab department of forest and wildlife preservation, the number of migratory birds that came to the wetlands spread over Ferozepur, Tarn Taran, and Kapurthala districts fell from 105,890 in 2016 to 93,385 this year (2017). Harike divisional forest officer (wildlife) Baljit Singh said habitats of migratory birds had been gradually vanishing due to intensive agricultural activities and excessive pressure on the wetlands. “Rapid industrialization means more emission of carbon dioxide. This squeezes up nitrogen level and threatens vital vegetation consumed by migratory birds. The lack of food sources affects birds’ migration to a great extent,” he said.

The department and wildlife experts have spotted several bird species like Bar Headed Geese, Grey Legged Geese, Pintail, Ruddy, Shell Duck, Carmonent, Eurasian Spoonwill, Spotwill, Painted Stark, Northern Lap Wing, and Ferruginous Pochard this time.

Harike, however, is not the only wetland that is witnessing depletion in the habitat for migratory birds. According to information, wetlands all over the country are losing habitat. The main causes are the same: rainfall/drought, water pollution, sand mining, water hyacinth, and overuse or misuse of natural resources.

The DFO said the department’s officials had been patrolling the wetlands round the clock to protect the birds. Harike wetlands are spread over 41 sq km and were declared a sanctuary in 1962. (The Times of India)

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