J&K: Heaven on earth turns hell for migratory birds

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Srinagar, March 9: Jammu and Kashmir is experiencing a new challenge. Migratory birds are leaving because of unusually hot temperatures, scanty rainfall and snowfall.

Wildlife experts say,"Normally, the migration back to summer homes from the Valley by the migratory bird species starts by the middle of March, but due to unusual rise in temperatures and scant precipitation during the winter months, these avian visitors are leaving earlier this year."

Jammu and Kashmir

Jammu and Kashmir is a haven for migratory birds like Pintails, Mallards, Pochards, Wigeons and Shovellers, but have already left the Valley for their summer homes in Eastern Europe, Russian Siberia, the Philippines, China, central Asia and other places.

Imtiyaz Ahmad Lone, wildlife warden (Wetlands Kashmir) said,"Last year 567,000 migratory birds including Greylag Geese, Mallards, Teals, Pochards, Wigeons, Shovellers, Gadwalls and Pintails came to spend the winter months in the bird sanctuaries and other water bodies of the Valley to ward off the extreme cold of their summer homes."

"This year, we fear the number of avian visitors would be much less," he said.

Surprisingly, Srinagar experienced a temperature of 20.4 degree Celsius on February 24.

Sonam Lotus, director of the local MET office, said this had happened after 76 years.

Apart from climatic changes, shrinking water bodies are also responsible for the exodus of birds. Poaching forms another problem as there are few staff members to take care of that.

"We are taking all steps to check poaching outside the bird reserves and we have seized many weapons and lodged cases against poachers. There is absolutely no chance of any poaching in the protected water bodies," the warden said, adding that any poaching would be happening in unprotected water bodies.

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