KANGAN: A rare migratory bird named black stork has been sighted at Kangan by a wildlife photographer Irfan Jeelani Rather near nallah Sindh here in Central Kashmir’s District Ganderbal.
Talking to Kashmir Gazette, Irfan Jeelani said, ”This is the second authentic record of this species being spotted in Kashmir, first time this bird was spotted somewhere in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district by a wildlife warden from south Kashmir Suhail Ahmad, although it’s know to visit some wetlands of Ladakh and Jammu not in Kashmir. The bird has a global population of only 30 to 40 thousand, But the sighting of this rare bird in the Valley is significant”
Irfan, an avid bird watcher and wildlife photographer, who also managed to click the rare bird, said that its sighting here underlines the importance of Kashmir as a vital bird migration flyway.
Recent studies have shown an alarming decline in the number of this species in India. As per the findings published in the European Scientific Journal, BIOTA, in the last decade there has been a 65 percent reduction in the population of Black Storks that visit India. The study identifies the encroachment of wetlands, excessive fishing, droughts and water pollution as the prime risks faced by this bird on its wintering grounds in India.
Incidentally, according to Irfan Jeelani, the spot where the bird was sighted near the Nallah Sindh, which till recently attracted huge numbers of migratory waterfowl but is now fast vanishing due to rampant encroachment from all sides.