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Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019

Rare species of bear, deer spotted in remote Himachal valley

The Pangi Valley, around 450 km from Shimla, is located between the Greater Himalayas and Pir Panjal range in Chamba district.

india Updated: Aug 22, 2019 07:16 IST
Naresh K Thakur
Naresh K Thakur
Dharamsala
(FILE Photo)
         

Himachal Pradesh’s forest department has found rare species of Himalayan brown bear and white-bellied musk deer during a census conducted at Pangi’s 390-sq km Sechun Tuan Nalla Wildlife Sanctuary, which remains cut off for eight months in a year. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has categorised brown bear as a critically endangered species and musk deer as endangered.

“The census is important for any protected area as it gives an idea of the population of a particular species and is a tool to carry out conservation. Twenty-seven people, including forest officials, guards and volunteers were divided into five teams and they carried out the census [from July 1 to 4],” said divisional forest officer (wildlife) Nishant Mandhotra.

The Pangi Valley, around 450 km from Shimla, is located between the Greater Himalayas and Pir Panjal range in Chamba district.

Bipin C Rathore, a wildlife expert who has done research on the brown bear, said the species was facing extinction as its habitat was rapidly shrinking due to developmental activities. He said the species is found only in the forests of Chamba district in India.

Experts say musk deer faces threats due to hunting for the musk pod, a gland found in the male deer, which is used in making perfumes, incense material and medicines.

Other prominent species sighted during the census include Himalayan ibex, red fox, Royle’s Pika and Himalayan stoat.

“An unusual discovery was the long-tailed marmot. The species was sighted for first time in Sechu Tuan. Earlier, there was no documentary evidence of its presence in the area, though it is found in abundance in Ladakh,” said Mandhotra.

He added a snow leopard was also spotted in the sanctuary. “There was no direct sighting but it was clicked by camera traps,” he said.

The survey teams also recorded over 50 species of birds, most of which were directly sighted except the Himalayan monal and koklass pheasant. They were identified based on their calls.

“Twelve species of butterflies and two reptile species were also found,” said Madhotra. He added 35 herbs and shrubs were also reported to have been found.