Over 150 Himalayan Monals killed in Doda

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Bhaderwah, Jammu, Feb 18 (UNI) Winter has taken its toll on the rare migratory bird Neel, as over 150 of the avian creatures have been killed by the people in Doda district.

Neels--the state bird of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand--come here after heavy snowfall on the higher reaches of the two states for want of food and shelter. But unfortunately, over 150 have been killed by the people here for meat, Mr Imtyaz-ul-Rehman But, a social worker, who purchased some of these birds from the hunters, told UNI.

''Due to the snowfall these birds are forced to enter human habitats, which makes them an easy prey for hunters,'' he added.

Mr But, who along with other social workers of Bhaderwah, released all the five captured birds in safer jungles, alleged apathetic attitude of the Forest and Wildlife officials towards these migratory birds.

Many forest and wildlife officials are also involved in hunting of the Neels for its meat, the social worker alleged.

The Neels (scientifically called Lophophorus impejanus), also known as Himalayan Monal or the Impeyan Monal or Impeyan Pheasant, is the national bird of Nepal.

Besides Himalayan Monals, thousands of wild cocks have also been killed by the people during these winters, Mr But said.

''Several wild cocks have been roasted by the Forest and Wildlife officials in the district,'' Mr But alleged, urging the government to take immediate actions against the accused.

UNI XC-VJ SW SSC1230

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