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HomeMost RecentTo protect biodiversity, Himachal park authorities turn 'hunters' into 'saviours'

To protect biodiversity, Himachal park authorities turn ‘hunters’ into ‘saviours’

KULLU: Amid the presence of the highly-endangered western tragopan pheasant and a very good inhabitants of the wide-roaming snow leopard, with a bulk of its incidence reported outdoors protected areas when the cruel winter forces prey mammals emigrate to decrease altitudes, authorities of the Nice Himalayan Nationwide Park (GHNP), a UNECSO World Heritage web site within the northwestern Himalayas, worry for his or her vulnerability.

The authorities depend on native individuals for gathering intelligence and safeguarding the wild wildlife species.

Forward of the onset of winter, the authorities gear as much as shield Western Himalayan biodiversity that comprise many medicinal herbs, 31 mammal and 209 hen species, primarily from mountain settlements in 16 panchayats within the buffer zone referred to as an eco-zone of the park.

“We have started the process to deploy sufficient staff for group patrolling to check poaching during the winter,” Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Nishant Mandhotra, who’s in-charge of GHNP, advised IANS.

He stated that digicam trapping units shall be put in in no less than 20 highly-sensitive places primarily in Tirthan-Sainj areas.

Apart from monitoring the motion of animals, the digicam units play a vital position in protecting a tab on poachers who’re largely locals owing to powerful topography.

“Since most of the villagers have licensed guns for protection of self and crops, the chances of using them for poaching are high despite the ban on hunting. Historically, village communities depend on natural resources, especially during the harsh winters when foodstuff depletes, we prefer to hire locals to minimize chances of game hunting,” he added.

By participating with the native villagers and understanding their socio-economic wants, the park authorities turned the individuals into ‘guardians’ from ‘hunters’.

The GNHP, notified in 1999, is residence to 203 hen species, together with the western tragopan, the Himalayan monal, the koklas, the white-crested kalij and the cheer, all pheasant species.

The park is positioned in Banjar subdivision of Kullu district within the far Western Himalayas.

4 of GHNP’s mammal species and three of its hen species are globally threatened, together with the musk deer and the western horned tragopan.

With the inclusion of Sainj and Tirthan Wildlife Sanctuaries, the full space, referred to as the Nice Himalayan Nationwide Park Conservation Space, spreads to 1,171 sq km.

Former Deputy Ranger Roshan Chaudhary stated that human settlements pose the best risk to the park’s fauna and flora species, in addition to illlicit felling.

Chaudhary, the longest serving official who retired on December 31, 2021, after serving the GHNP in numerous capacities for 33 years, advised IANS that different threats to the park embrace agriculture, conventional grazing and hydropower improvement.

He stated that many of the trekking routes are intently regulated by digicam trapping units.

Locals usually enterprise into forests in teams to gather the costly herbs. They keep for weeks to gather them.

“They are posing a serious challenge as they are familiar with the local typography and are even sturdy compared to outside poachers,” stated Chaudhary, who trekked the rugged and inaccessibility park recognized for its vital dimension of 1,171 sq km on a number of events whereas separated from residence and household for weeks and even months.

The park’s eco-zone has some 160 villages and hamlets, whereas the boundaries are related to the Pin Valley Nationwide Park, the Rupi-Bhawa Wildlife Sanctuary and the Kanawar Wildlife Sanctuary.

Park authorities usually contain locals in conservation of biodiversity on the park. Apart from defending it from the poachers, they’re enjoying an essential position for managing sustainable eco-sensitive or nature-based eco-tourism.

Ecotourism Facilitator Govind Thakur advised IANS that tourism within the GHNP is anticipated to recuperate to 2019 ranges in 2023.

“After two years of hiatus owing to the pandemic, three months from April this year were good for eco-tourism. On normal occasions, we get tourists in October and November also. This year it seems negligible as there is hardly any advance booking, ” he stated.

The Tirthan sanctuary is the popular vacation spot for eco-tourism.

One of many richest biodiversity websites within the Western Himalayas, the GHNP helps the snow leopard, the Tibetan wolf, the Himalayan brown and black bear, the Himalayan blue sheep, the Asiatic ibex, the purple fox, the weasel and the yellow throated marten.

The small mammals embrace the grey shrew, a small mouse-like mammal with an extended snout, royal mountain vole, Indian pika, big Indian flying squirrel, porcupine and the Himalayan palm civet, in addition to 9 amphibians and 125 bugs.

Speaking concerning the man-animal battle, Chaudhary advised IANS that animals within the wild largely keep away from any encounters with the people — and after they do assault individuals, it’s often in self-defence.

He stated that the snow leopard additionally wants safety from pastoral communities in alpine pastures.

“The park supports a good population of the snow leopard with a sizable population of its prey species like the Asiatic ibex and the Himalayan blue sheep,” stated Chaudhary, who had face-to-face encounters with the widespread leopard and the brown bear a number of occasions.

“The wild animals rarely attack humans. They attack only when the people disturb them. I have spent nights in their habitat with just a rucksack carrying a raincoat, cap, sleeping bag and an LED torch and they just passed by my rucksack without bothering me “

“Man-animal conflicts are more of a social issue. For the conservation of wildlife, you need cooperation of local communities,” added Chaudhary, who belongs to Banjar, positioned on the periphery of the GHNP.

Wildlife officers advised IANS that with the cruel winter, freezing water assets and wiping out meals sources, herds of hoofed wild mammals begin shifting to decrease altitudes. Different types of wildlife, primarily predators, observe them.

The migration of the Asiatic ibex – a wild goat species -, the goral and the Himalayan blue sheep or ‘bharal’ in decrease elevations is widespread.

“The anti-poaching teams do random patrolling on identified routes. The teams comprise local people, who are familiar with routes and sensitive areas and play an important role in gathering intelligence,” DFO Mandhotra stated, including that “this also enable them to sustain livelihood when they are free from agriculture”.

The ban on donning a cap with a pheasant monal crest, as soon as a practice within the higher reaches of Himachal Pradesh, particularly on auspicious events, tremendously helped scale back its poaching within the park.

“The sighting of Himalayan brown goral in the village increases during winter,” Gian Thakur, a villager within the Tirthan Valley, advised IANS over cellphone.

Even sightings of the widespread fox will increase in human habitations, he added.

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