Bar-headed geese shot dead in Himachal Pradesh

February 8th, 2009 - 10:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, Feb 8 (IANS) Two migratory birds have been shot dead near a world-famous wetlands in Himachal Pradesh, wildlife officials said here Sunday.
“This evening our staff noticed somebody moving under suspicious circumstances in the catchment of the Pong Dam wetlands in Kangra district,” Divisional Forest Officer (Wildlife) S.K. Guleria told IANS.

“Apprehending arrest, the suspect, who is believed to be an official of the wildlife wing posted in the Pong area, disappeared from the spot, leaving two dead bar-headed geese behind,” he said.

He said that the physical examination of the carcasses indicated the birds were shot dead.

“The hunt is on for the accused, who has been identified,” Guleria said.

Last month, 20 migratory birds were found dead near Pong wetlands. The dead birds comprised 18 bar-headed geese and two ruddy shell ducks.

Authorities ruled out any symptoms of bird flu but believed the birds were poisoned to death.

Around 95,000 birds of 89 species, both migratory and local, are roosting and feeding in the Pong Dam area these days, according to a census conducted by the state wildlife wing from Jan 30 to Feb 2.

Nestled in the sylvan surroundings of the snow-capped majestic Dhauladhars, the Pong wetlands have the distinction of being one of the important winter grounds for local and migratory species from China and even far-off countries like Russia and Poland.

As per the census, around 23,000 bar-headed geese were recorded in the Pong area.

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