Researcher rebuts wildlife department’s claim of sighting Bar-headed geese first time in Valley

Says the avian visitor spotted in wetlands in 2017

Srinagar: Is J&K wildlife department’s claim of sighting Bar-headed geese in Kashmir wetlands for first time correct? No, says an ornithologist and ecologist, Dr Sajjad Ul Akbar Wani, whose research two years ago highlighted the ecology of the avian visitor around Chandhara-Kranchu wetland in the Valley.
Last week, the department claimed they sighted the Bar-headed geese first time in wetland around Pampore.
A gold medallist, Dr Sajjad, who analysed the 2014 pre and post flood scenario of the Pampore wetlands, however, said the winged-visitor was sighted first time in 2017 when he was doing research for his doctorate.
His research mentions about the Bar- headed Geese being spotted around the Waganhud area of Chandhara-Kranchu wetland in November 2017.
According to surveys and regular monitoring of his native water bodies, Dr Sajjad said that he recorded a pair of Bar-headed geese first time on November 3, 2017. But the poaching around prompted the pair to fly away and were sighted once again on November 17, 2017 from the same spot with their count touching six, he added.
He, however, said that their sighting again after two years in the wetlands surrounding the Pampore area according to him gains significance about the importance of the wetlands and urgent efforts to safeguard the winged visitors from poachers in the saffron town.
“The site provides a good vegetation and protection with least anthropogenic activities. But it is unfortunate that poachers do pose a threat to these winged visitors in these wetlands,” Dr Sajjad said.
Thousands of migratory waterfowl visit the saffron town of Pampore during the winters.
His research also explicitly mentioned about first-time sighting of 10 Great crested Grebe in February 2015 in the Pampore wetlands.
The same year, a significant a single Common Shelduck, 2 purple swamp henand female a Common Mergancer were also first time sighted, he added.
Dr Sajjad also managed to record for the first time the breeding of Gadwall, Northern Shoveler and Common Poachard around the Manibugh and Chandhara-Kranchu wetlands.
For his study in ecology of birds he was conferred the Gold Medal and Young Scientist Award by University Grants Commission and M.P. Higher education at Ujjain where he was registered for his Ph.D.

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