Vigil up at Harike wetland after bird deaths in Rajasthan - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Monday, November 25, 2019

Vigil up at Harike wetland after bird deaths in Rajasthan

Vigil up at Harike wetland after bird deaths in Rajasthan

GS Paul

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 24

The Harike wetland is under vigil after thousands of migratory birds were found dead around the Sambhar Lake in Rajasthan.

State wildlife and conservation teams are on their toes to ensure well-being of rare birds which migrate here in winters. Apart from special watchtowers erected for round-the-clock monitoring, local residents have been roped in to keep an eye. Veterinarians have been kept in the loop for preventive care of avian visitors in case of any emergency. Moreover, samples of lake water are being collected to check the presence of any virus that could harm the birds.

District Forest Officer Kavita said no death of migratory bird had been reported so far in the Harike weltland.

“Six check-posts have been set up to keep a vigil. We are engaging local residents to help us in this exercise. They have been conveyed to alert the department as soon as they find any carcass of a bird in their area. So far, no casualty has been reported,” she said.

Coordinator, Aquatic Biodiversity, with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)-India Gitanjali Kanwar said, “Special groups of individuals called Weltland Mitras are being constituted which provide us extra information about birds or aquatic species and habitat.”

“The Wetland Mitras is a joint venture of the Forest Department and the WWF-India. The idea is to keep more eyes on any suspicious activity. Regarding the Sambhar Lake, according to the IVRI, Bareilly, it was apparently because of avian botulism which is a non-contagious bacterial infection caused becauseof feed in dirty water. It could be worms, maggots in dirty water on which birds fed,” she added.

The Harike wetland is spread over 86 sq km on the inter-district border of Ferozepur-Tarn Taran, where the Sutlej and the Beas rivers converge.

Around 45,000 birds have already arrived and the number is expected to go up to 1.5 lakh this year. Winged visitors from countries like China, Siberia, Afghanistan and Pakistan and the Arctic area visit the wetland. These include common coot, graylag goose, bar-headed goose, purple moorhens, spoon bill, pintail and painted stork.

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