Harike Wild Life Sanctuaries

Harike is one of the most important Wild Life Sanctuaries of not Only Punjab but also of India being recognized throughout the world. Situated on the confluence of the river Beas and Sutlez at the Ferozepur and Amritsar border the sanctuary encompass an area of approximately 86 sq km. The area was declared as a Wild Life Sanctuary in 1999 and because of its importance as a wetland of international stature, it was declared a Ramsar site by the International Body of Wetlands under the UNDP in 1990.

The sanctuary is a bird watchers paradise and attracts thousands of migratory birds during winter, some from as far off as Siberia and the Arctic. It is a refuge for a large number of resident and migratory birds. Some 45,000 ducks have been recorded here during the peak migratory season. The wigeon, common teal, pintail, shoveller and brahminy ducks are commonly seen during the winter. The lake is particularly famous for diving ducks, such as the crested pochard, common pochard and tufted ducks which occur in very large numbers. Around 375 bird species have been recorded; 40 species were long distance migrants which pass through or winter at Harike lake. Apart from avifauna, some 7 species of turtle and 26 species of fish have been recorded. The mammals found at Harike include the smooth Indian otter, the jungle cat, jackal, Indian wild boar and the common mongoose.

The major problems facing the Sanctuary are encroachments on the wetland habitat, widespread infestation of water hyacinth weed which is slowly chocking the system and reducing the available surface area, siltation and the resultant fall in the volume of water, drainage of untreated and toxic industrial effluents into the system from big cities like Ludhiana , Jallandhar and Kapurthala, illegal fishing and poaching of birds etc.