SHIMLA, JAN. 16. Figuring among the internationally known wetlands, The Pong dam sanctuary, situated in the Dhauladhar mountain ranges of Himachal Pradesh is fast becoming one of the most popular destination for bird watchers from around the world.
Keeping in view its natural beauty, the area has been developed as national wetland and has been included in the list of internationally known wetlands. Around 5000 tourists visited it last winter and most of them came to watch migratory birds for the first time. Efforts are being made to attract more tourists to the Pong dam'', an official spokesman said.
``Awareness and information facilities in the sanctuary area are being strengthened for protecting the environment and safety of rare migratory birds from poaching. Local people have also been associated in the task to ensure better management of the sanctuary area'', he said. The wetland has a rich bio-diversity with forests around the wetland having several tree species which serve as source of fruits for the migratory birds. The main tree species of the tract having attraction of the birds are Acacia, Jamun, Shisham, Mango, Mulberry, Ficus, Kachanar, Amla and Prunus.
The Pong dam lake has become the temporary home of more than 220 bird species belonging to 54 families. It is an important winter shelter area for a large number of black-headed gulls, brahminy ducks, bar headed geese, plovers, grebes, cormorants, daters, herons, moorhens and storks etc.