Record numbers of migratory waterfowl have been sighted in Kashmir's wetlands this year.
On Christmas Day, I observed a multitude of migratory ducks like mallards, teals, shovellers, gadwalls, pochards, etc and a few flocks of Greylag Geese and Ruddy Shelducks at the Hokersar sanctuary. The highlight of the trip were the endangered Pallas's Fishing Eagles soaring majestically in the sky.
Efforts being made to improve Hokersar are immediately noticeable. Leaky, dilapidated boats have been converted into smart houseboats, observation platforms have been repaired and new ones added, pools cleared and flagged.
I had the chance to interact with Dr. Mir Mansoor, the Chief Wildlife Biologist who was monitoring the wetland for evidence of Bird Flu. We had a very interesting discussion on a variety of topics related to wildlife and Kashmir's fragile ecology. Clearly he and Kashmir's Wildlife Warden, Abdul Rauf Zargar take their responsibilities very seriously. More power to them.
P.S: Who gave permission for a housing colony on the highway adjoining Hokersar? The Hokersar Sanctuary is rapidly being degraded for a number of reasons