- As many as 27 migratory birds have been reported dead on account of avian influenza in Himachal Pradesh’s Pong Dam Wildlife Sanctuary setting off alarm bells and forcing authorities to shut down the sanctuary.
- Earlier in January 2021, avian influenza (H5N1) led to the death of over 5,000 migratory birds in the Pong Dam Wildlife Sanctuary area in Kangra district of the State.
Prelims, GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Protected areas in news)
Dimensions of the Article:
- About Pong Dam Lake / Maharana Pratap Sagar
- Beas River
- Other Important Protected Areas in Himachal Pradesh:
- About Ramsar convention and Ramsar Sites in India
About Pong Dam Lake / Maharana Pratap Sagar
- Maharana Pratap Sagar in India, also known as Pong Reservoir or Pong Dam Lake was created in 1975, by building the highest earthfill dam in India on the Beas River.
- In 1983, the entire reservoir was declared as a Wildlife Sanctuary by the Himachal Pradesh government.
- In 1994, the Government of India declared it a “Wetland of National Importance”.
- Pong Dam Lake was declared as Ramsar Site in November 2002.
- It is located in the wetland zone of the Siwalik Hills of the Dehra Gopipur Division Kangra district of the state of Himachal Pradesh.
- The reservoir or the lake is a well-known wildlife sanctuary and one of the Ramsar sites in India.
- The sanctuary plays host to around 220 species of birds and Migratory birds from all over Hindukush Himalayas and also as far as Siberia come here during winter.
- The lake is fed by Beas River and its numerous perennial tributaries such as Gaj, Neogal, Binwa, Uhl, Bangana, and Baner.
- The sanctuary area is covered with tropical and subtropical forests, which shelters a great number of Indian Wildlife animals.
- Leopard, barking deer, sambar, wild boars, nilgai etc., are found here along with trees such as Eucalyptus, acacia, jamun, shisham etc.
- The Beas River rises in the Himalayas in central Himachal Pradesh, India, and flows into the Sutlej River in the Indian state of Punjab.
- The river rises 4,361 metres above sea-level on the southern face of Rohtang Pass in Kullu.
On meeting the Sivalik Hills in Hoshiarpur, the river sweeps sharply northward and then bending round the base of the Sivalik Hills, it takes the southerly direction. Finally, the Beas joins the river Sutlej at the south-western boundary of Kapurthala district of Punjab.
- The water of the Beas river is allocated to India under the terms of the Indus Waters Treaty between India and Pakistan.
- The Beas River marks the easternmost border of Alexander the Great’s conquests in 326 BCE. It was one of the rivers which created problems in Alexander’s invasion of India.
Other Important Protected Areas in Himachal Pradesh:
- Great Himalayan National Park – a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2014.
- Pin Valley National Park with species like Snow Leopard and Siberian ibex.
- Inderkilla National Park & Khirganga National Park in Kullu district in Himachal Pradesh
Click Here to read more about the Ramsar convention, Ramsar Sites in India and Ramsar sites such as Tso Kar Wetland Complex and Lonar lake which were in the news recently.
-Source: The Hindu