Kashmir’s Bird Migration at Risk? State Starts Second Census


Migratory birds fly above wetlands in Hokersar, 16 kilometers north of Srinagar. (Photo: AP)
Migratory birds fly above wetlands in Hokersar, 16 kilometers north of Srinagar. (Photo: AP)

Kashmir’s Bird Migration at Risk? State Starts Second Census

A meticulous counting of water birds began on Tuesday in the wetlands and marshes of the Himalayan region of Kashmir, which attracts species migrating from as far as northern Europe and Japan.



Volunteers and officials participate in the monitoring of water-bird population at Hokersar. (Photo: AP)
Volunteers and officials participate in the monitoring of water-bird population at Hokersar. (Photo: AP)

More than 100 wildlife officials and volunteers were performing the region’s second formal census, after scientists for years criticised less formal counts as unreliable.

Migratory birds fly above wetlands in Hokersar. (Photo: AP)
Migratory birds fly above wetlands in Hokersar. (Photo: AP)

Since last year, however, Kashmir’s wildlife officials have been working as part of the global effort led by environment groups in accounting for the world’s water-birds.

Kashmir was known for its ecological diversity. (Photo: <a href="https://twitter.com/abidsoffi/status/670875883842990084">Twitter/Abid Bashir Soffi</a>)
Kashmir was known for its ecological diversity. (Photo: Twitter/Abid Bashir Soffi)
We’re now counting birds in a proper scientific way unlike guesswork done earlier. We are now doing it according to the internationally accepted guidelines.
Imtiyaz Lone, wildlife warden

Last year’s census counted over half a million water-birds visiting 13 wetlands in Kashmir. This year’s two-day count includes up to 21 wetlands. The results will be released in about a month.

Kashmiri wild life official participate in the monitoring of
water-bird population. (Photo: AP)
Kashmiri wild life official participate in the monitoring of water-bird population. (Photo: AP)

Experts have said they expect the total number of birds visiting is declining because of habitat degradation and climate changes including more erratic rainfall.

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