SRINAGAR — The birdwatchers in the valley have expressed dismay over the killing of a Whooper Swan, sighted for the first time after nearly a century in Kashmir.
The Whooper Swan was last found in the Himachal wetland after 113 years on 29th of January, 2013.
In Kashmir valley, the bird was sighted after a century. The Whooper Swan is the national bird of Finland.
People associated with the Wildlife profession including the birdwatchers in the Valley termed the killing of Whooper Swan as unfortunate and a blunder, saying that the entry of Whooper Swan is very rare. A harmless creature would have added charm to the wetlands in Kashmir, they said.
A birdwatcher in the Valley said that the Whooper Swan has been sighted after nearly 90 years and they were two pairs (four individuals) among which two (one pair) has been killed without any check and procedure and the incident surfaced yesterday afternoon.
He said that the photographs went viral on social media last evening. “It is a very rare record since the Whooper Swan was last recorded in Himachal after 110 years in 2013 and now when the Kashmir valley recorded it for the very first time, a pair of Whooper Swan was killed without any procedure and check from the Wildlife department,” he said.
He claimed that as per reports with them, the poachers have killed one of the pair of Whooper Swan and the remaining have not been recovered even the Wildlife department was unaware of it. “Soon after the photos went viral, the department tried to identify the rare bird,” he said.
He said that one of the associates of a global software application used by the bird watchers (Ebird app) updated a post regarding the killing of a pair of Whooper Swan in the Valley believed to be in the adjoining area of Wular Lake that has sent a wave of shock among all the birdwatchers.
“The bird watchers are honestly shocked. One can’t even imagine the arrival of the bird in the valley for centuries now,” he said.
He also said that the Wildlife department has constituted a team of Wildlife officials headed by Intesar Suhail to probe the killing of Whooper Swan. However, Intesar Suhail denied to have been directed to probe the incident and said there is nothing official about it.
Meanwhile, Intesar Suhail, a senior official of the Wildlife department said that so far the department has learnt that two Whooper Swans have been poached in Kashmir valley and the exact location isn’t known yet.
“Poaching is crime and there was no official nod for the same and the involvement of any official will be established only after thorough enquiry,” he said.
He said that there are very few wetlands under the jurisdiction of the Wildlife department in Kashmir and the birds can go anywhere and poaching cases surface outside the protected wetlands and it has to be established where the incident happened.
Replying to a query about the recovery of dead Whooper Swans, he said they are yet to ascertain the veracity of the photographs and rest of the things can be done later. “This is the preliminary stage and nothing can be said at this stage,” he said.