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Expert pitches for artificial breeding of exotic birds

 

Artificial breeding centres of exotic birds and animals can provide an alternative and lucrative source of income for farmers in Himachal Pradesh. These can also help save rare species of birds and animals facing extinction in the wild.
 
An expert in artificial breeding of animals from Himachal Pradesh, Dr Romesh Kumar Shukla, said this in an interview to The Tribune. He is managing the Abu Dhabi Emirates wildlife sanctuary at present.
 
Dr Shukla, a former employee with the Himachal Pradesh Government, has been working with the Abu Dhabi government and Sheikh Muhammad Bin Butti Alhamid as an animal expert for the last two decades.
 
During this period, he has helped in reviving many wildlife animal species that are facing extinction through breeding under controlled conditions.
 
Dr Shukla said he had achieved success in the recent past in breeding falcons, rare predator birds, under controlled conditions. He said an artificial environment was created for seven pairs of falcon in Abu Dhabi.
 
He said after experimentation for about three years, three falcon eggs hatched with success at the artificial breeding centre. He added that breeding falcons under controlled conditions could help save the species.
 
He said falconry was a business in West Asia as people there bought these birds for sport. Falconry was an ancient sport and had references in age-old epics.
 
He said modern falconry used three main species of falcon. These were the gyr falcon, found in the Arctic circle, Alaska and Siberia; the saker falcon in Central Asia, China, the subcontinent and parts of Europe; and the peregrine falcon in Africa, Asia and Europe.
 
Dr Shukla said it was illegal in modern times to source these birds from the wild and hence, these were bred in captivity, mainly in Germany, Spain, the UK, the USA and Canada.
 
He said in hatch year, the birds were so much in demand that these were booked in advance and immediately purchased. He said their training started at an early age of three months.
 
He said by six months they were fully mature and taken to exotic locations, mainly Central Asia, where falconers from West Asia were paid well.
 
Dr Shukla said breeding exotic species that were not found in India could prove an alternative and lucrative business for farmers in the region.
 
He said farmers in Himachal Pradesh who owned private forest land could do this business and make the optimum use of their land. Artificial breeding had helped revive the Arabian oryx, mountain goats, reem deer and saluki dogs, he said.
 
                                              The Tribune (19-11-2012)