GHARANA (RS PURA), Dec. 2 -- Migratory birds from Central Asia, East Europe and New Zealand start arriving at Gharana on the Indo-Pak border by this time of the year but it is estimated that like last time, fewer birds will make the wetlands their home this winter due to the administration's failure to check encroachments by villagers and the cross-border firing.

Barely 35 km from Jammu, Gharana was once home to nearly 300 species. "This reserve used to be spread over 200 acres of marsh area but it has shrunk due to encroachment by villagers. It used to attract 20,000 to 25,000 birds every winter but over the years, the number has come down to 8,000 to 10,000," says an official, requesting anonymity.

The wetland named after the adjoining ...