WWF-India’s Interventions

The recent discovery of the Indus river dolphin, Indian star tortoise and Jerdon’s babbler in the Harike Wildlife Sanctuary and waters of River Beas confirm the possibility of unexplored rich biodiversity.
Bird Census
To estimate the population and diversity of the sanctuary’s avifauna, a census was conducted for the years 2012 and 2013. The census was organized by Department of Forest and Wildlife Preservation, Punjab in collaboration with WWF-India, experts from the Punjab Heritage and Tourism Promotion Board, Bombay Natural History Society, Chandigarh Bird Club, Punjab State Council for Science & Technology and Wetland International, South Asia.
Otter Population Assessment
To ascertain the population status and habitat choices of otters at the Harike Wildlife Sanctuary, field surveys were conducted between October 2012 and May 2013. The searches were made for indirect evidence of otters and these sites were plotted on the map of Harike Wildlife Sanctuary. The indirect evidence of otter occurrence was found to be concentrated to areas near River Beas, Reyasat and some parts of Khetan while the River Sutlej part of the sanctuary was completely devoid of the species.
Dolphin Population Assessment
The Indus river dolphin Platanista gangetica minor supposed to have become extinct in India after 1930 was largely found in the Indus river system in Pakistan. In December 2007, its presence was confirmed in the Harike wetland area and upstream 25 km along River Beas.
Field assessments examined the possible existence and conservation viability of the only reported breeding population of the Endangered Indus river dolphin. Observations showed that dolphins occur in River Beas and the Harike wetland.  A total of 25 sighting frequencies were possible during the study period.
Water School
The Water School Programme was pilot-tested in local schools around the Harike Wetland. About 500 students participated in different events that included cultural performances, drawing competition, storytelling and hands-on experience of conducting water quality tests.
Self-Help Groups
Local communities who are dependent on the wetland’s resources also have a stake in the long-term conservation of the freshwater and wetland areas. They, therefore, need to be engaged in the development and conservation of the wetland. Sustainable livelihood opportunities are one such way to initiate long-term mutually beneficial engagements. The constitution of women’s self-help groups can be trained to make handicrafts from invasive weed species like the water hyacinth which has been wreaking havoc in the wetlands. 
© Gitanjali Kanwar/WWF-India
Greater flamingoes
© Gitanjali Kanwar/WWF-India
© Gitanjali Kanwar/WWF-India
Sunset at Harike WLS
© Gitanjali Kanwar/WWF-India
© Gitanjali Kanwar/WWF-India
Smooth-coated otter
© Gitanjali Kanwar/WWF-India
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