4,000 Collared Bar-Headed Geese Arrive At Wetland Reserve in Kashmir

Srinagar, Dec 23: Over 4000 Bar-headed geese, including a half dozen with collars, have arrived at Gharana wetland Conservation Reserve on Indo-Pak border in R. S. Pura in winter capital of Indian administered Kashmir. The wetland is beaming up with spectacular bird life this winter at the habitat.

“Although the birds started flocking this wetland around mid November with species like Greylag geese, Common teal, Pintail, Mallard, Little cormorant and Bar-headed geese etc, a large flock of Bar-headed geese (Anser indicus) comprising more than 4,000 individuals was recorded on December 20,” Wildlife officials said.

They said a very important feature of these sightings was the recording of four Bar-headed geese with red colour bands around their necks. The red colour bands were marked with numbers in white colour.

As per the Wildlife Warden, Jammu Tahir Shawl, the numbers spotted on the collars are H97, H44, H12 and H76.

It is for the first time that the presence Bar-headed geese with neck collars are recorded in Gharana Wetland Conservation Reserve.

He said for further information about the place where these birds were collared, the leading scientists of the world working in the field of bird migration like Dr. Asad Rehamani Director Bombay Natural History Society, Martin Gilbert of Wildlife Conservation Society USA, Diann Prosser of USGS, Dr. Taej Mundkur of Wetland International, Lue Dongeing and Qian Fawen of National Bird Banding Centre of China have been contacted. “The exact location where these birds have been collared is yet to be confirmed. However, according to the information received from some of the scientists the red bands have been used either in Mangolia or Qinghai Province in China,” he said.

It is pertinent to mention that Kashmir is the only Indian state which holds breeding as well as wintering population of bar- headed geese. The high altitude areas in Ladakh, particularly Chang-Thang Wildlife Sanctuary, are the habitat of breeding population of bar-headed geese. A project to study the migration of bar headed geese, black necked crane and other important bird species using satellite telemeter is already in the pipeline in the state. The Department of Wildlife Protection is planning to put satellite telemeters on some bar- headed geese in Gharana wetland this winter.

Fayaz Wani reports on life in Srinagar, Kashmir.