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New wetland discovered near Amritsar

Written by: Staff

Amritsar, Mar 28 (UNI) Everyone is familiar with Harike wetland at the confluence of Sutlej and Beas rivers which attracts migratory birds from across the Himalayas every year, but few know about a new ''mini-wetland'' in the suburban town of Verka.

Residents of Verka recently spotted several beautiful birds in a small marshy area of about 10 acres in the town, about eight km from here.

A Varka resident Malkiat Singh said he and some others were taking a walk near the low-lying marshy land when they noticed several hundred migratory birds in the area and immediately reported it to the state Wildlife Department.

A team of wildlife experts headed by Deputy Chief Warden of the Wildlife department, Mr Gurmit Singh, visited the spot and was surprised to see the winged visitors.The low-lying area cannot be notified as a wetland under the provisions of the Wildlife Act because of its small size.

''We need at least 20 areas for an area to qualify as a wetlend, but this does not desist us from protecting the birds and even the land here, which is becoming home to the winged guests,'' Mr Singh said.

''We will use provisions of community conservation and involve the local people to protect this area, '' he said, adding that the local panchayat or the committee should send them a resolution in this regard.

He also expressed concern that the water feeding the area was coming from the drains of the town and local industrial units. ''If the local people come forward, we will arrange clean water from a nearby canal,'' he said.

The birds spotted in the area include the Coot, Gulls, Sharike and Goose, while indian species from Himalayan region include Purple Moor, Black Moor and Chinese Mugs. If the localites help, we can provide funds and expertise to develop the land,'' said Mr Singh, adding that they had deputed a wildlife guard, Tarsem Singh to protect the birds from poachers.

Local residents revealed that the low-lying areas, which had been lying vacant for several decades, had been partially encroached upon. The Wildlife department is planning to remove the encroachment with help from local residents.


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