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| Last Updated:17/03/2020

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Parent rearing project to save endangered western tragopan

The project for "parent rearing" of highly endangered western tragopan will be revived. It was stalled due to the collapse of newly built enclosures due to snow in the Sarhan pheasantry three years ago.

The Wildlife Department has decided to construct it afresh with the technical support of the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Hamirpur, which has rectified the faulty design by strengthening the support structure of the enclosures and increasing the slope of the roof to prevent damage due to snow. A proposal will be soon sent to the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) for approval and securing funds.

The CZA had earlier sanctioned Rs 4.93 crore for the project, which is placed high on the Red Data Book of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listing the highly endangered species. However, only a part of the funds could be utilised as five of the seven large spacious enclosures required for parent rearing caved in under the weight of snow even before they could be put to use.

The department was directed to revive the project by Forest Minister Thakur Singh Bharmouri during the review meeting held yesterday.

Besides strengthening the support structure, the interior of the enclosures has also been redesigned to provide for a partition to keep male birds away from chicks soon after hatching, if required. The aim of the project is to supplement its dwindling population in the natural habitat through ex situ conservation.

Chicks will be raised by the parent pair in natural conditions in spacious enclosures under “parent rearing” and released in the wild as per the protocol of the IUCN in the natural habitats where the population has declined. It is found in high hills within the elevations of 8,000 ft to 10,000 ft in Chamba, Kullu, Kinnuar and Shimla. Its current population in the wild is estimated to be a meagre 2,000.

The Tribune (24-10-2013)