SHIMLA: Pong Lake is one of India’s largest man made reservoirs in Himachal Pradesh. In 1975, a dam was built on the river Beas which led to formation of the huge Maharana Pratap Sagar lake, or Pong lake as it is popularly called.
A popular tourist spot of Himachal Pradesh, the reservoir attracts a lot of visitors from all across for birdwatching as well as limited water activities –one can do paddle boating or simply take in the view while walking along the boulevards.
Spread over an area of 307 sq kms, the Pong Wetlands is home to more than 220 bird species. This season, around 34,465 migratory birds have arrived at the Anchor-Pong Lake.
These migratory birds reach the Pong Lake due to extreme cold conditions in countries like England and America in November when the water turns into ice and stay on at Pong Lake till April. Some of these birds also migrate from Africa. Counting of these migratory birds is done every 15 days. READ & WATCH: Hallo Dolls, Guten Tag: German Lady In Dharamshala Bringing Tibet Closer To Its Women
In 1994, the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India declared it a “Wetland of National Importance”. Pong Dam Lake was declared as Ramsar Site in November 2002. All land up to 440 mts in the catchment of the wetland was notified as buffer zone.
According to Rahul M Rohani, from the Wildlife department, Hamirpur, 34,465 exotic birds of 20 different species have arrived at the lake since October and their numbers are expected to increase further. Rings have been placed on their feet to locate their place of origin.
Currently there are 8345 bar-headed geese, 2728 mantlesa, 3621 northern pentals, 7127 commoncoots, 3130 little cormorants, 1149 ruddy shelducks, 1601 common pochards, 916 godwalls, 415 northern shovelers, 224 Eurasian vegans, 209 black-billed steels, 185 brown haddigals, 156 river lapwings, 423 cattle egrets, 370 common moraines, 289 black-headed gulls, 282 river terns, and 231 tufted pochards at Pong lake.
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