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Home India Himachal: 8 of 18 rare captive-born cheer pheasants survive in wild

Himachal: 8 of 18 rare captive-born cheer pheasants survive in wild

Written by Gagandeep Singh Dhillon
| Shimla |

Printed: July 29, 2020 5:15:02 am


Cheer pheasants are extremely threatened ground-dwelling Himalayan fowl. (Photograph courtesy: ebird.org)

Eight of 18 cheer pheasants — launched in a forest in rural Shimla final yr in an ongoing effort to reintroduce the extremely threatened, ground-dwelling Himalayan fowl into its pure habitat — have survived practically ten months within the wild.

Himachal Pradesh runs an unique captive breeding centre for cheer pheasants close to Chail. Final October, three households of the fowl from the ability have been launched into soft-release pens at a website between Seri and Undala villages of Dharbhog panchayat in Shimla rural tehsil.

Delicate-release pens are enclosed wild areas which act as a precursor to an precise launch into the wild. The 18 birds initially launched included 12 chicks and 6 adults from three totally different households.

13 pheasants survived the soft-release and have been subsequently launched into the forest. The adults have been fitted with identification rings and really excessive frequency (VHF) collars for monitoring and monitoring.

Eight of these pheasants, together with three adults, have survived to date, in line with the wildlife wing of the state forest division.

“The surviving birds are wholesome and have tailored properly to their new environment. The truth is, a pair laid eggs this breeding season (April to June),” stated Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden Dr Savita. She stated {that a} researcher frequently screens the birds on the website.

Officers plan to launch 4 extra households of the fowl this October. The breeding centre at Khadiyun close to Chail, situated in a wildlife sanctuary which can be the pure habitat of the cheer pheasant, presently has 75 birds being raised in seven enclosures.

One of many causes the birds have been launched in Seri, round 30 km away, was as a result of the world deity is believed to be towards searching of wildlife, a wildlife official stated.

Looking has been a serious risk to the fowl, together with forest fires, grazing and fodder assortment. “Nonetheless, lately, searching right here has drastically declined as a result of rising consciousness concerning the significance of the fowl and its vulnerability,” the official stated.

Cheer pheasants, domestically known as chaidh, dwell in a grassland habitat mixed with quick bushes and shrubs in elevations between 1,500-3,000 metres. They’re present in Pakistan, India and Nepal, and in line with the Worldwide Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), their international inhabitants dipped to lower than 2,700 birds, as a result of human disturbances and different components.

Himachal Pradesh is one space the place a majority of the remaining wild populations nonetheless survive. Some necessary Cheer Pheasant areas within the state embody Majathal Wildlife Sanctuary, Chail Wildlife Sanctuary, Bhaila-Chonri space, Seri and remoted areas in Chamba, Rampur and Kullu, in line with the IUCN.

The breeding centre at Khadiyun has been operational since round 1990, and was beforehand additionally used for breeding the Purple Jungle Fowl and the Kalij Pheasant. Round ten years in the past, it was devoted solely to the cheer pheasant.

The 75 birds on the centre are principally offspring of 5 ‘outdated pairs’, one among which, named ‘Raja-Raani’ has been probably the most fertile. Pheasants can dwell for greater than 10 years in captivity, and one fowl lived for round 16 years, an official stated.

The fowl’s day by day eating regimen contains 150 grams of fruit and veggies, 150 grams of grains, soyabean, and mineral combination.

The Steppe Eagle, Slender-billed Vulture, Cheer Pheasant, West Himalayan Bush Warbler and Himachal’s state fowl Western Tragopan are 5 species of birds from the state which have been listed below species of a excessive conservation concern by ‘State of India’s Birds 2020’, a report launched earlier this yr.

Himachal additionally has a captive breeding centre for state fowl Western Tragopan at Sarahan, and the first-ever launch of birds from the centre is scheduled for September this yr.

Concerning the Cheer Pheasant

Native Identify: Chaidh

Scientific Identify: Catreus Wallichii

Pure habitat: Components of northwestern and central Himalayas (Pakistan, India, Nepal); forest, shrubland and grassland

Breeding season: April-June

World inhabitants: lower than 2,700

Standing: ‘Susceptible’ in IUCN Purple Checklist, ‘Schedule I’ in The Wildlife Safety Act

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