Nangal (Punjab). The inflow of the seasonal Swan River in the areas bordering Punjab and Himachal Pradesh has helped in reclaiming thousands of acres of agricultural land, but due to illegal sand mining. There is a danger of extinction of the stork bird from this area. The stork is the highest flying bird in the world. Wildlife experts said that about a decade and a half ago, stork birds were regularly sighted in the Nangal marshy areas of Punjab, but now they are rare, as most of them migrated to other areas as illegal mining increased. The stork cranes grow up to 6 feet in height with a wingspan of 8 feet. It is the longest among all the 15 types of cranes in the world. Its habitat is shallow wetlands, marshes, ponds and fields.
Wildlife photographer Prabhat Bhatti said on Saturday, the destruction of ponds and marshy land on the banks of Swan has destroyed the natural habitat of many wildlife species, including the crane crane. He said that the banks of the Swan river flowing in Una district of Himachal and Ropar district of Punjab were once breeding grounds of cranes. According to an estimate by Bhatti, who lives in Nangal town, about 100 km from Chandigarh in the foothills of the Shivaliks of Ropar district, 18 storks were sighted in the area by the state wildlife wing 15 years ago. Bhatti said. The latest survey saw only one pair of stork cranes. He believes that their habitats have been destroyed mainly due to channelization of the creek and increase in construction and mining activity. He has been monitoring more than 18 stork cranes in the swampy areas of Swan since 2005. He had photographed 14 cranes at one place in 2008.
Earlier, the wildlife wing had also spotted Saras in Sahila Pattan area of Gurdaspur district. According to wildlife experts, there has been a significant decline in the number of cranes in their sight. The Swan, formerly known as the River of Misery, is 85 km long with a catchment of 1,400 sq km, of which 65 km falls in the hill state and the rest in Punjab. The river channelization project, launched in 2000, aims to revive forests, protect agricultural land from floods and reduce soil erosion, mainly in Una district, which borders Punjab. The total length of the embankments is about 387.6 km and the total area for irrigation purposes is 7,164 hectares. (IANS)