Avian visitors flock to Gharana wetland
Restoration improves breeding process
Post by Bivek Mathur on Wednesday, November 23, 2022
R S Pura, Nov 21: The Indian spot-billed duck has completed its breeding process for the first time at Gharana wetland in Ranbir Singh Pora Tehsil of Jammu district. The wetland officials attribute the breeding process to the improved state of the wetland for the avian visitors that flock to Gharana in the winter season.
Around 7000 to 8000 migratory birds including Bar-headed geese, Woolly-necked stork, Red-naped ibis, Grey heron, Purple heron, Common teal, Northern shoveler, Common coot, Common moorhen, Indian spot-billed duck, etc. start visiting Gharana from Central Asia, China, Siberian Tundra, East Europe and New Zealand, between ending October and beginning November and stay there till February end.
According to a Wildlife Protection Department official, the bird species normally breed in the rainy season. “This species (Indian spot-billed duck) usually breed in other parts of the country and migrate along with the ducklings to Gharana in December-January,” Dheeraj Rampal, Block Officer, Wetlands, Range Jammu said."
He added, “But this year, the bird species laid and hatched the eggs at Gharana, maybe due to improvement in the overall condition of the wetland”.
“Now the number of the Indian spot-billed duck species and the newly born ducklings at Gharana is around 8,” he added.
Rampaul said that soon after completing the additional 408 kanals and 14 marlas land acquisition process, the Wildlife Protection Department Jammu has taken a series of initiatives to restore the wetland to its "pristine glory".
A huge chunk of the wetland land, according to him, was earlier encroached upon by some people but it was later restored with the help of the local administration. The total area of the wetland is around 1600 kanals.
The officials revealed that restoring the glory of the wetland was the major factor in the improvement of its environment for the avian visitors
According to Mr Rampaul, after the acquisition of land was completed at Gharana, the department had to convert 30% of the acquired land to develop a pond for the migratory birds.
“And thus far we have converted around 80 kanals of the land area to a pond,” he said, adding, “Apart from this, we have developed special bird-friendly perches this year, cleansed the water of the wetland, completed the drainage and parking/fencing work, de-weeded the wetland and took up various other initiatives to restore the bird site to its pristine glory.”
Among other measures taken by the department include the construction of a separate road to the wetland, the construction of a special drainage facility for the farmers living in the vicinity of the designated bird area, the provision of irrigation facility to the farmers, provision of readymade/moveable toilets for the visitors, and sowing of wheat and berseem crop especially on a designated area to provide fodder to the migratory birds.