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Four rare whooper swans spotted in Kashmir, poachers kill two of them

Srinagar: For the first time in the last 60 years, the majestic whooper swans have been spotted in Kashmir. 

However, two of the four migratory birds have fallen prey to the poachers.


Mostly found in European countries, the rare swan lives in marshy lakes and wetlands often in wild areas. Fairly straight neck, short tail, and sloping bill, the whooper swan is a large bird with a pointed yellow patch at the base of the bill.

Whooper swans have a deep honking call and, despite their size, are powerful fliers. Whooper swans can travel hundreds or even thousands of miles to their wintering sites in southern Europe and eastern Asia. Whooper swan is also the national bird of Finland. 

Whooper Swan in flight – Photo: Wikipedia

Wildlife Warden, Wetlands, Ifshan Dewan told The Kashmir Monitor that they have launched an investigation into the poaching.  

A former order has also been issued and Regional Wildlife Warden, Kashmir has been asked to inquire into the case.

 “You are directed to enquire upon the matter personally and look into the circumstances as to how and under what circumstances these rare birds were poached and the role of the concerned staff thereof,” Wildlife Warden, Wetlands, Kashmir Division, wrote to the Regional Wildlife Warden Kashmir.

 The pictures of poached whooper swans have gone viral with social media users flaying the Wildlife department for failing to protect the rare migratory bird species.

 “We have been getting reports about the poaching of two birds in Hygam wetland. However, there is not ample evidence about it. So far we have not been able to locate the poachers and the investigation is going on,” said Dewan.

She said whooper swans have arrived in Kashmir for the first time since 1968. “Only four have been spotted. Soon after we got information about the birds, our officials were put on high alert. Yesterday, only two have been spotted in Hokersar wetland. So we can say that four have visited the valley so far,” she said.