The wildlife wing in Himachal Pradesh is destroying eggs of the red jungle fowl in captivity to avoid an unhealthy stock, an official said Friday.
"The eggs laid by the red jungle fowl in the Himalayan Bird Park in Shimla are being discarded and the birds are not allowed to multiply to avoid unhealthy stock," principal chief wildlife warden Lalit Mohan told IANS.
He said as per the genetic analysis, history and physical health, most of the red jungle fowls are genetically inbred, hence any egg laid by them is to be discarded as per the guidelines of the Central Zoo Authority of India.
According to Mohan, the eggs are destroyed by pricking the freshly laid eggs with a sterile needle.
"This a well adopted technique of the bird population control in zoos all over the world. The eggs at this stage don't contain a developed embryo. Even after pricking, the mother is not disturbed and is allowed to incubate the egg in a normal manner," the official said.
This process eliminates any chance of alteration of their physiological behaviour and stress, he added.
The Himalayan Bird Park, established in August 1994, has 43 birds of seven species, besides the red jungle fowl.
They are the monal, the cheer, the kalij, the Indian peafowl, the silver pheasant and the Indian goose.
Of these, the monal and the cheer pheasants are listed in the Red Data Book of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a compendium of species facing extinction.
They are included in Schedule-1 of protected species under the Wildlife Protection Act.
And, there's good news from the zoo too.
"Incubation by artificial means and rearing of chicks in the zoo has been carried out. As a result a chick of endangered monal was born and reared this year," he said, adding two chicks of the kalij and the six of the silver pheasant were also reared.
Himachal Pradesh is known as a storehouse of bio-diversity. Its lush green valleys and snow-capped mountains are home to 36 percent of India's bird species.
Of the 1,228 species of birds that have been reported in India, 447 have been recorded in the hill state alone by the Himachal State Council for Science, Technology and Environment in its biodiversity report.