Pong dam in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh is playing host to migratory birds these days bringing cheers to bird lovers across the state. Pong wetland is offering a winter abode for the migratory birds coming from the Trans Himalayan zone as far of as Siberia, Russia, Eurasia, Central Asia and Tibet. This was disclosed by Vinay Tandon, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests-cum- Chief Wildlife Warden, Himachal Pradesh.
The State Forest Department in association with Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, Wildlife Preservation Society of India, New Delhi and other organizations conducted migratory bird estimation at Pong dam wetland in Kangra from 15th January to 17th January, 2010 . Annual mid winter water fowl estimation is done every year by the department in Pong.
The entire lake of 310 sq. km was divided into 21 segments for this estimation and about 1,44,000 birds of 91 species were sited. A notable feature of the year was a group of 42,200 number common pochard was sited, topping the list of migratory species, closely followed by bar headed goose, the symbol of Pong wetland, at over 40,000.
At around 40,000 the number of bar headed geese account for about two thirds of the total known population of this species in the world. Common coots numbered over 21,000 and 8,050 great common cormorants were recorded.
Pong Dam was declared as a wetland of national importance in 1994 and was accorded an international status as ‘Ramsar site’ in November, 2002.