Mcleodgunj & Nearby Villages

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 Location Ecosystem Type   Conservation Type   Area(hectare) Legal status 
 Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh Wetland Specie Protection Not Available Not Available

Case Study (2009)

Background

Dharamsala district in Himachal Pradesh has been a bird-watchers’ delight since a long time now. Getting off at the Mcleodganj bus stand, the bird enthusiasts travel to nearby villages like Haripur, Dehra Gopipur and Nagarota Surivan near Pathankot. The Pong dam,1 one of the biggest wetlands of Asia, attracts avian visitors by the thousands every year from as far as Russia, Siberia, Central Asia, Tibet and Ladakh.

Rare terns like the gull-bellied tern and little tern breed here. The Pong also attracts waders like lapwings and plovers. Twenty per cent of the bar-headed geese that breed on the Tibetan plateau winter at Pong. The Pong is also a refuge for threatened species like the sarus crane, woolly-necked stork, painted stork, red-necked falcon, black-bellied tern, white-tailed eagle, red-headed vulture and white-rumped vulture. Kangra Bird Club, formed by a few bird enthusiasts, has recorded about 480 species of birds in Kangra District and 370 species at Pong wetland itself. According to one of the members of Kangra Bird Club, these birds have been a way of life in Kangra. The villagers of the Kangra valley live in perfect amity with the birds and normally do not disturb the birds whilst going along with their daily work. The villagers do not mind even if the birds feed on their maize fields.

According to Lajja Devi of Haripur village, even when sometimes flocks of 100 bar-headed geese raid their fields, villagers refrain from harming or killing them; instead they accept the losses considering that the birds have come to their village after travelling long distances. Besides plentiful food and shelter on little islands on the lake, the winged visitors also get ample peace and quiet.

But all this may not last long according to Dr. H.S. Mehta, Joint Director of the Zoological Survey of India at Solan. Pressures of livelihood have increased, which has been causing a conflict between the fishermen and the birds. Birds feed on prawns, mahseer and shrimps, all of which are also commercially very important for the local fishermen.

  This information has been put together from a newspaper clipping ‘What’s good for the Geese’ by Manraj Grewal, Dharamsala, in the Sunday Express, 20 Ocober 2002.

1 The Pong reservoir came up in 1974. It has a length of 46 kms and a width of 15 kms

This case study was part of the Directory on Community Conserved Areas (2009), published by Kalpavriksh. The directory can be downloaded here.

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Related Information

A Socio-Cultural Profile

The present chapter focuses on socio-cultural profile of the study area for the whole study which includes Mcleodgunj.

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