Kashmir is rich in biodiversity and is home to over 250 species of birds. Every year, the state plays host to over thousands of migratory bird species from China, Siberia, Russia, Central Asia and Northern Europe. Kashmir’s exquisite wetland ecosystem forms the ideal habitat for these seasonal visitors, making it a paradise for bird enthusiasts.
However, in recent years, these wetlands have been threatened by continuous human encroachment, siltation, flooding, and illegal dumping of wastes etc. Wildlife SOS is dedicated to the cause of protecting and conserving wildlife across India, therefore, we make it our responsibility to share the importance of these wetlands and the need to conserve the precious wildlife that is part of this habitat.
The Wildlife SOS team in Kashmir collaborated with the Kashmir Bird Watch group to inaugurate the first-of-its kind Spring Bird Fete in Kashmir University, on 16th March, 2016. The festival was part of a two day Common Bird Monitoring Workshop that was organized by the Bombay Natural History Museum at the university. The event was attended by Dr. Asad Rahmani, ex-Director BNHS (Bombay Natural History Society), Professor G.A. Bhat, State Coordinators of BNHS, Dr Ashfaq Zarri, Officer from the Wildlife Departments and students from Kashmir University.
Aaliya Mir, Education Officer at Wildlife SOS, spoke about her love and passion for wildlife and addressed the need to protect and conserve Kashmir’s avian population and the critical issues that threaten it. She emphasised on the fact that the younger generations can play a pivotal role in making a difference in preserving and protecting our rich natural heritage and to live with acceptance of the wildlife that surrounds us. This was followed by the team celebrating World Sparrow Day on 19th March with students and teachers from Green Valley Educational Institute, wherein, they talked about the importance of avian fauna and awareness on bird conservation and their habitat protection.
The students took active participation in the interactive session and even performed a skit about protecting the environment. The festival also comprised of bird-watching field trips to various wildlife sanctuaries in the region, which were organized by Wildlife SOS and the Kashmir Bird Watch group. The event concluded with a Bird Walk that was held on 5th April 2016.
The Spring Bird Fete saw a large number of participants taking an interest and showing their willingness to be a part of the change that we at Wildlife SOS are dedicated towards implementing, as part of our efforts towards conserving and protecting wildlife within the country. Through our awareness and outreach programs, we aim to evoke a sense of compassion within the local communities to have a more sensitized understanding of the environment and to inspire people to take active participation in working to improve and protect it.