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Himachal to have new animal, bird and flower state symbols

Written by: Staff
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Shimla, Aug 10 (UNI) Snow Leopard would be the new state animal, Western Tragopan (Jujurana) (Tragopan melanocephalus) the State Bird and Pink Rhododendron (Rhododendron campanulatum) the State Flower of Himachal Pradesh.

The decision to designate these as the new state symbols were taken in the third State Wild Life Board Meeting held here under the Chairmanship of HP Chief Minister Virbhadra singh today.

The Chief Minister said that Snow Leopard, popularly known as the Mountain Monarch has been categorized as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) while the earlier State Animal, Musk Deer was not amongst the endangered species.

Monal, the present State Bird was replaced as it was also the State Bird of Uttrakhand and National Bird of Nepal while in case of Jujurana, Himachal probably harbours the only viable population of the bird in the world. The bird, also known as Western Tragopan and locally hailed as the 'King of the Birds', was included in Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act and thus entitled to full protection.

Similarly, the present State Flower Rhododendrum arboretum, was widely distributed in entire Western and Central Himalayas, while the new State Flower, Rhododendron Campanulatum, the Pink Rhododendron falls in the threatened species of the IUCN.

Mr Singh added that the progress in human wildlife conflict management and conservation breeding of pheasants had been significant in the past one year and needed to be strengthened further to consolidate position as a world leader in conservation breeding of the Western Tragopan or Jujurana.

Mr Singh emphasized the need to increase the efforts manifold to respond to the challenges being posed by the unpredictable climatic changes and external influences responsible for degradation of the ecosystems.

He said the State Gross Natural Product was actually going up resulting into enhanced spending. He directed that the estimates of state-level populations of monkeys, leopards, wild boar, all of which were widely spread, needed to be revised and better baseline date generated for policy making and other requirements.

The Chief Minister said that if needed, services of the experts to carry census be requisitioned, besides associating the local communities.

He said that rural schools and children living close to the wild life sanctuaries also need to be roped in efforts to popularise the Wild Life Week, Wetlands Day, World Environment Day and allied events to draw the attention of the people towards wild life activities.

The Chief Minister said the connotation and ambit of the Honorary Wildlife Wardens need to be enlarged for the better wild life conservation.

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