Two Endangered Bird Species Sighted in Pir Panjal Range, Jammu and Kashmir

Western Tragopan
Dhritiman Mukherjee
This species is classified as Vulnerable because its sparsely distributed, small population is declining in its restricted range in the Western Himalayas.

The rare Western Tragopan, a medium sized and brightly colored pheasant, has been sighted at two sites in the Pir Panjal range. The birds were sighted by a team from the species division of the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI). Its status is a Schedule I species on the Wildlife Protection Act and ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List. The Tragopan is a victim of rampant poaching for its meat and plumage. The team also sighted another rare species, the Cheer Pheasant.

In India, the Western Tragopan ranges through the Western Himalayas in the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and the western half of Uttar Pradesh. Hunting and trapping for its meat (especially in winter) and its decorative plumage pose additional threats, throughout India and Pakistan.

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