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| Last Updated:13/01/2020

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Cheer pheasants to be released into wild soon


Buoyed by the successful rearing of cheer pheasants at Chail, the wildlife authorities of the state are now preparing protocols for its release, which will help in building its natural population in the wild.

The Cheer Pheasant Conservation Breeding Project at Chail, which was initiated in 2008 with funds worth Rs 3.24 crore, has successfully bred a stock of 62 pheasants. In the Khariun pheasantry, 30 females and 24 males have been bred, while in the Blossom pheasantry, five females and three males have been bred.

The wildlife officials have now decided to release 10 pairs of cheer pheasant in the age group of two to five years. The officials are now finalising its release plan, which will comprise suitable locations where these pheasants will be released. Factors like provision of natural habitat and easy monitoring to assess the success of the breeding programme will be taken into account while finalising locations for their release.

AK Gulati, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife)-cum-Chief Wildlife Warden, said a meeting of the wildlife officials would be convened shortly to finalise locations and issue like new and old sites for their release would be finalised after considering various factors and personal monitoring over the released pheasants.

Issues like soft release of the bred stock, which included their initial release into bigger protected enclosures, would also be finalised in the meeting which would pave way for their future release, he said.

Since one such experiment conducted in Pakistan had failed, the officials wanted to tread carefully and weigh all the aspects before finalising their release into the wild, Dinesh Pal, range forest officer, Chail, said.

Earlier, DNA profiling of the bred stock, which was conducted by scientists at the JP University of Information and Technology, Waknaghat, had led to encouraging results, thus leading to the release of the bred pheasants.

Conservation breeding, which is undertaken in very large enclosures, provides natural forest condition to pheasants for bringing up the bred chicks. The objective of the conservation breeding is to release and reintroduce the birds back into the wild for building up their natural population in the forest.

Cheer pheasant is restricted range species endemic to the Western Himalayan region and it is declared as vulnerable in the Red Data Book of the International Union of Conservation and Nature and Natural Resources, which makes it essential to undertake such breeding projects to enhance their population.


The Tribune (14-05-2013)