Wildlife survey underway to assess blue sheep population in Himachal - Hindustan Times
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Wildlife survey underway to assess blue sheep population in Himachal

By, Shimla
May 20, 2024 01:51 PM IST

The wildlife department started the survey, jointly undertaken by the National Conversation Foundation, from Larhi village, known for rearing the sturdy Chamurthi or Spiti horses

In the wake of the growing population of snow leopards in the high-altitude region of the tribal Lahaul and Spiti district, the wildlife wing of the forest department has initiated a survey to assess the population of the blue sheep, also called bharals, and Himalayan ibex (Tangor), both are main prey base for the rare felines.

Blue sheep and Himalayan ibex are the main food of snow leopards and for the promotion of snow leopards, it is very important to have both these species in large numbers. (HT Photo)
Blue sheep and Himalayan ibex are the main food of snow leopards and for the promotion of snow leopards, it is very important to have both these species in large numbers. (HT Photo)

The wildlife department started the survey, jointly undertaken by the National Conversation Foundation, from Larhi village, known for rearing the sturdy Chamurthi or Spiti horses.

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“The survey has been undertaken to assess the number of blue sheep and ibex can be estimated and further plans can be drawn for propagating their population This year the number of these wild species will be counted in the entire Spiti valley,” said divisional forest officer (DFO), Spiti, Mandar Jaware.

The forest department has roped in the local population for the count of wildlife sheep. “The survey will continue and will be completed over the next fortnight,” he added.

Blue sheep and Himalayan ibex are the main food of snow leopards and for the promotion of snow leopards, it is very important to have both these species in large numbers. These species are counted through a double observer survey, in which two inspectors count the wild animals together and no inspector tells the other about the location of the animals. In this way, both the inspectors keep writing their observations independently. The Global Snow Leopard Organisation has developed the technology.

Kibber village in Spiti is the strongest habitat of snow leopards’ wildlife wing of the forest department. Last year, a survey to assess the population of snow leopards in Himachal Pradesh found an estimated 73 big cats in the Himalayan state.

In Himachal Pradesh, the snow leopard’s habitat ranges from Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary in Lahaul and Spiti to Pangi in Chamba district, and parts of Kinnaur. The cats are usually found in rugged terrain at altitudes between 9,800 feet and 17,000 feet.

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