The tropical lakes and artificial water reserves of Pakistan namely the Tarbela Lake and the Mangla Lake, have long been one of the favourite destination of the migratory birds who fly down thousands of miles from the Steppes of Russia and Siberia to escape the bitter cold.
With subsequent ecological disorder in recent times where one of the largest water lakes in the country, the Manchar Lake has experienced compounding problems, many of the birds have now decided to switch over to greener pastures for the past few years and are rarely seen landing on the polluted reservoirs of Pakistan.
In a surprising revelation, however, the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has now confirmed the spotting of the Sarus Cranes in the Nagarparkar district of Sindh, a bird which was once considered as extinct in the country.
Considered as one of the highest flying birds in the world, Sarus Cranes are known for their beauty and the longest air hauls in the world.
The information was shared by IUCN in a meeting organised by the Save Wildlife and Nature (Swan).
The Siberian crane had not been seen in Pakistan for many years whereas the population of demoiselle cranes and ommon cranes was also fast dwindling. And though Sarus Cranes were still found in large numbers on the Indian side, not a single had been sighted in Pakistan till this year.
The birds, the experts said, were found in all the four provinces and except Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, all the three provinces had imposed a complete ban on cranes’ trade and trapping. Influential hunters, however, had made these official restrictions meaningless, they observed.
“Khyber Pakhtunkhwa [KP] tops the list where these birds are hunted on a large-scale followed by Balochistan and Punjab,” Mr Ashiq Ahmed Khan, senior wildlife conservationist, said, adding that it was due to extensive hunting that the cranes conservation centre in Lakki Marwat district of the KP could not succeed despite funds allocation.
The ecological degradation of the Manchar Lake which has been receiving effluent from certain industrial units in the vicinity, has dealt a severe blow to the wildlife population in the region.
The increased amount of Urea found in the lake water has considerably declined the growth of algae in the lake water, hich thereby had a direct implication of the fish population in the lake.
These migratory birds which are predominantly dependant on the fish of the lake were forced to look for other alternatives to sustain their migratory period in the region.