Pong wetlands, witnessed the death of over 400 migratory birds

By Bharati Kumari

The endangered, bar-headed geese ended it’s life in the Pong Dam, over the past couple days.

On December 30, 2020, according to Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) over 400 migratory birds, in the Shimla wetlands. It is one of the largest man-made wetlands in northern India, Himachal Pradesh.

Tentative findings of their postmortem have excluded toxicity as the cause of their death, they said.

On December 28, an official report quoting the Deputy Chief Conservator (Wildlife) in Hamirpur said that the field staff reported the unexpected death of four bar-headed geese and one common teal in Fatehpur area.

In the wildlife range of Dhameta and Guglara areas of the Nagrota range, the field staff were instructed to implement a search of the absolute area of the sanctuary and 421 bar-headed geese were found dead the next day.

Forest Minister Rakesh Pathania detecting the urgency of the circumstance, said that the Wildlife wing has commenced analysis into the deaths of the migratory birds.

After receiving the reports of the samples sent to different institutions, strict action will be taken against those found guilty, he added.

Pathania guided the senior officials to go to the site and look into the numerous faces of the deaths.

The Deputy Chief Conservator (Wildlife) said the viscera samples of the geese were taken to a veterinary laboratory for testing. The samples have been prepared at the laboratory and sent for further examination.

A team of veterinarians visited the Guglara area for assessment of the ground realities and will send samples to the Indian Veterinary Research Institute in Bareilly, the Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Jalandhar and the Wildlife Institute of India in Dehradun for further examination.

Every winter, the Pong wetlands are home to over 100,000 birds of nearly 114 species. Among them the bar-headed geese, the northern pintail, the Eurasian coot, the common teal, the common pochard, the northern shoveler, the great cormorant, the Eurasian wigeon and the ruddy shelduck are notable.

According to the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), the Pong wetlands are the one migratory site in the globe to hold such a large get-together of bar-headed geese.

Most of the wetlands in India have been regularly getting bar-headed geese every winter. But Pong is the only habitat that holds the major stream of bar-headed geese during every cold wave, a BNHS (Bombay Natural History Society) ornithologist told IANS (Indo-Asian News Service).

One might be able to overlook the unfairness that, humans are the main cause of extinction of these species. It is important to remember to take care of the animals that exist today, and their environment.

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