Pong dam is spread over 12600 sq/km. It extends from Kullu district downward to the far end of Kangra district bordering Punjab. Moreover, the reservoir itself is 42 km long and 19 km wide. For one thing, the area of the actual water body varies from season to season. Pong bird sanctuary being 125 sq/km in summer extends to 220 sq/km during the rainy season. It was declared bird sanctuary in 1983.
Most noteworthy, near to 1.5 lac migratory birds from trans Himalayan region visit it every winter. Furthermore, these constitute more than 400 species of aquatic fauna in Pong Dam. Eventually, all these factors along with its scenic beauty make this bird sanctuary unique in north India. As a result, for conservation, the Pong dam bird sanctuary is split into 4 distinct zones.
This being the main conservation zone at the confluence of perennial rivulets feeding it is most important. Moreover, it also constitutes the shallow margins of the Pong lake. It covers the shore up to 1390 feet MSL.
The area from 1390 feet MSL to 1450 MSL forms the rehabilitation zone. Incidentally, due to pressure from the locals, the upper ceiling is now reduced to 1410 feet MSL. This allows activities to sustain resources for use by the local population side by side with conservation.
This zone extends up to 5 km linear distance from 1410 feet MSL. Eventually, it is all around the periphery of the Pong dam bird sanctuary. Notably, this zone is an important booster for the preservation of waterfowls as well as terrestrial birds.
Seems like, tourism zone overlaps with the first three depending upon the water table of the Pong dam. Also, it varies in keeping with the requirements of the wildlife wing of the forest department. Notably, the aim is to promote tourism without hurting the biodiversity of the Pong dam bird sanctuary.
Finally, migratory birds reaching Pong dam bird sanctuary have their origins in distant Siberia, Europe, China and Russia etc. Pong dam serves as a resting place for them from October to March. Having been attracted to the rare locale some of these species have made the place their permanent home. They find it a perfect hatching place too and are available for viewing throughout the year. Add to this, the beauty of many species of terrestrial birds and the bird sanctuary becomes an ideal spot for birdwatching and recreational activities. Natural grey pearls abound in and around the reservoir and migratory birds feed on these precious gems. Above all, the numbers and variety of both aquatic fauna and terrestrial fowls are enchanting for the visitor.
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