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Pong Dam Migratory birds already crossed 1, 00,000 mark, may cross 1.50 lakh

 (Arvind Sharma )

Dharamsala ,January 21,2014

Pong Dam Migratory birds already crossed 1, 00,000 mark, may cross 1.50 lakh

Annual countdown  by Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), Wild Life Institute of India (WII), and Zoological Survey of India (ZSI)  from 28th to 30th January :AC Wild life

The number of migratory birds to Pong Dam in Kangra district of Himachal have estimated to be crossed 1 lakh mark and their arrival is still on this might cross the last year’s figure of 1 lakh 23 thousand. Stating this in Dharamsala a wild life official said that they might host to a huge number of migratory birds this winter in Pong Dam wetland, also known as Maharana Pratap Sagar. The arrival of migratory birds starts in the last week of October and continues till February end. Ornithologists attribute the large influx of water birds to low water level in the Pong Lake exposing more wetland for feeding and roosting of the birds.

“More than 1, 00,000 birds of 90 species are roosting in the verdant forests around the wetland these days, said D S Dhadwal AC wild life . The area so far has received world’s highest altitude migrant-bar headed geese in a record number of 40,000 at the wetland this season against a total of 34,000 last year. The number of birds in 2008 and 2009 had remained below 30,000 while in 2010 it was recorded at 40,000 in the end of the season. Assistant conservator of forest (wildlife) Devinder Singh Dadhwal.said ,” the total population of -bar headed geese in world is around 1,20,000 and their Hugh population is only seen in Pong during and nowhere else in world non breeding  season. The number will multiply in a few days breaking the previous record.”  The other species that have landed in good numbers are common pochard, pintail, ruddy shell ducks and Eurasian wigeon.The influx of waterfowls in the wetland crosses 1.2 lakh every winter.

Dadhwal said ,”the annual countdown of these visitor birds shall be conducted from 28th to 30th January in collaboration with Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), Wild Life Institute of India (WII), and Zoological Survey of India (ZSI)  along with wild life department of Himachal Pradesh .”

Till date more than 400 species of birds have been recorded from Pong. The latest addition to the list (418th) is also one of the rarest birds to be seen in the Indian Subcontinent: On 29th January 2013, a pair of Whooper Swans was sighted and photographed.

Situated about 5o km from Dharamsala and 190 km from Chandigarh and nestled in the picturesque Kangra Valley of Himachal Pradesh, Pong is one of the largest manmade wetlands of northern India. This huge wetland came into existence in 1974 after the construction of Pong Dam across the River Beas. Fed by waters from the Dhauladhar mountain range, the reservoir – also known as Maharana Pratap Sagar – forms a lake that is 42 km long and 19 km wide. It has a catchment area of 12,500 sq km that extends over the districts of Kangra, Mandi and Kullu. The area of the water body varies seasonally – ranging from about 125 sq km in summer to around 220 sq km in the monsoons

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