Every year, thousands of volunteers across Asia and Australia visit wetlands in their country and count waterbirds. This event is called the Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) which is a part of a global waterbird monitoring programme, the International Waterbird Census (IWC), coordinated by Wetlands International.
This year, Wildlife SOS and its volunteers participated in Asian Water bird Census of 2015 which was organized by Department of Wildlife Protection, Jammu & Kashmir State. The staff and volunteers were given the responsibility of bird counting at Hygam Wetland Reserve, Sopore which is one of the biggest and the important wetlands in the state of Jammu & Kashmir.
An interesting event occurred during the census operation which involved the team coming across a female Pintail who had injured her wing. She was rescued and transported to the Wildlife SOS clinic for necessary treatment. After administering the treatment, the Pintail was released the next day safely in Hokerser Wetland.
Wildlife SOS also participated in World Wetland day 2015 which was celebrated at Hokersar Wetland, Srinagar. Hokersar Wetland is among one of the four Ramsar Wetland sites in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. In view of the recent floods in the valley, the day held a special significance as the wetlands in the valley have shrunken to a great extent which eventually became one of the causes of flooding in the valley.
The event was attended by all the Wildlife Wardens and also the Regional Wildlife Warden, Kashmir. A detailed talk was given by Aaliya Mir, Education Officer, Wildlife SOS highlighting the importance of Wetlands with significance and special reference to the recent floods which had devastated Srinagar. A handout prepared by Wildlife SOS titled “Seven Ways wetlands provide for our future” was distributed among the participants apart from releasing the report on recently concluded Asian Water bird Count (AWC). Below are the various ways wetlands provide for our future:
1. Wetlands ensure fresh water for all of us.
2. Wetlands purify and filter harmful waste from water.
3. Wetlands feed humanity.
4. Wetlands are bursting with biodiversity.
5. Wetlands act as nature’s shock absorbers.
6. Wetlands help fight climate change.
7. Wetlands provide sustainable livelihoods and products.
All the wildlife wardens spoke on the occasion and cited the importance of citizen activism in conserving wetlands.