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HP Wildlifewing keen to breed Western Tragopan

Written by: Staff
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Shimla, Oct 24:  The Wildlife wing of the Himachal Pradesh's Forest Department is considering a proposal to resume the breeding of Western Tragopan taking all precautions and measures to prevent another failure, a top forest official has said.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Vinay Tandon told UNI here yesterday that the department was considering a proposal to breed the endangered species in captivity to shore up their dwindling numbers.

He said the department has already called for advice from the experts to ensure that the programme did not fail like it did a few years ago, where the chicks died one after the another due to lack of expert advice.

The programme would be undertaken at Sarahan in Shimla district of the state by the department itself after consultations with the experts besides guidance from other central agencies, he said.

''Every care will be taken this time round to ensure that the chicks survive and rear up.'' Mr Tandon said the department would now take more care in the initial stage and keep the chicks in isolated cages, while ensuring proper diet management.

Besides checking inbreeding, cross breeding would be preferred to check any genetic disorder, he added.

He said the department was also planning to expand the area of the pleasantry to seven hectares from the present three hectares besides constructing seven breeding houses.

More convenient and natural enclosures would also be developed so that the pheasants get stress free natural environment, Mr Tandon said, adding that the only reason to breed them in captivity was to check genetic disorder. The Tragopan would later be re-introduced in their natural habitat in the protected Himalayan forests, Meanwhile, sources in the department said though the reasons for the death of four chicks, bred in world's only captive breeding centre were yet to be ascertained, experts believe that they lacked resistance against diseases as the genetically developed pheasants were more prone to bird flu.

The genetically developed chicks are less resistant than poultry chicken due to the lack of natural habitat and change in eating habits.

Contamination due to bacteria and virus in artificial breeding was always there, they added.

UNI

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