The highest, youngest & largest chain of mountains in the world, the Himalayan range is one of the most fascinating and spectacular natrual wonders on earth.It is more than that : it is one of the richest store of animal life.For instance,it is remarkable that almost one third of the world's mammalian species that may be called true mountain animals are native to these mountains.
Dal Lake much visited and less understood provides us with classic example of how little we appreciate the good things provided to us by Nature. This once pure lake could turn into a polluted pond, if we unthinkingly allow soil erosion and untreated effluents to damage it. Thousands of residents of Srinagar and millions of tourists are depandent upon the lake either for livelihood or for enjoyment. The lake of course is popular for its Houseboats, Shikaras and promenades and it is undoubtedly a bird watchers paradise.
Slowly as the Shikara passes through the channels in Srinagar the houseboats pass by which are handled by even the children with great dexterity. The birds in this lake are very approachable. The kingfishers sit on the tops of houseboats nonchalantly almost within the touching distance of humans who seem to be equally unmindful of the birds. The kingfishers apparently use walls, steps and piles as fixed perches from which they directly dive into water to catch little fish.In Europe these birds are very elusive but in the happy valley of Kashmir they fear no danger from humans. Man and Nature seem to exist happly together in the Valley. Sitting on low boats i.e. Shikaras we can manoeuvre close to waders,raptors and divers.
Now as we move further to the calm waters of Anchar Lake we are in a totally different world, there is no crowd of boats, no motor boat engines to be heard and the mood is different altogether. Just a few meters ahead there is a little bittern unmindful of the boat traffics. It stands motionless in the reeds waiting for frogs and other insects for its feed like a heron. This is a very shy bird and will vanish at the slightest difference. However it is accustomed to moving water traffic and is not bothered by it. However if a boats stops it gets alarmed.
There are open lotus flowers around which the bees are humming collecting honey. Wagtails active and eager can be seen dashing from leaf to leaf sometimes leaping into air to catch that elusive creature for its morsel. The dipping motion of their longtails and their undulating flight is fascinating to watch. Kingfishers keep on diving into the lake and emerge successful sometimes dripping with droplets with litlle fish intheir beak.
Jammu and kasmir with its variety of geographical regions, climates and vegetation has many delights to offer the wildlife enthusiast. Perphas no animal better epitomises the character and concerns of the mountain environment than the snow leopard, a beautiful and elusive survivor from the frigid Pleistocene era. Though its range is immense, extending over the entire Himalayan range, it is most advantageously sought in jammu and kashmir especially in the high ranges. Another rare animal is the hangul or Kashmir stag,one of the most endangered species of red deer in the world.
The country offers immense opportunities for wildlife tourism. The immense heritage of wildlife in Kashmir comprises of more than 6 different valleys and Dachigam national park in particular.