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Rare birds, flora and fauna endangered by forest fires in Uttarakhand Himalayas every year

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Rare birds, flora and fauna endangered by forest fires in Uttarakhand Himalayas every year


Pithoragarh, May 13

Devastating forest fires every year  in Uttarakhand  are not only taking toll of valued forest wealth of trees, plants, bushes, herbs and thick layer of soil but also taking a  high toll of rare Himalayan fauna that includes wild animals, reptiles, mammals, birds, butterflies, common flies, honey bees and bacteria that help soil to make it fertile.

“We have several rare species of birds and their breeding season collides with forest fire season from April to June. Frequent and uncontrolled forest fires every year are gradually making these species highly endangered in Uttarakhand forests,” said Sanjeev Chaturvedi, Chief Conservator of Forest and Research  in Uttarakhand.

The bird species of Cheer pheasant, Kalij pheasant, Rufous Bellied Wood Pecker, Common Rose,  Chocolate Pansy and common crow have their breeding season from March to June and coincides with the forest fire season as well. “Chir Pheasant, a native bird of western Himalayas, habitat of 1800 – 3200 meters is highly vulnerable to forest fires as it makes nest in deep bushes on ground and it’s breeding season collides with common forest fire season,”said the forest officer. According to Chaturvedi, Chir Pheasant in included in the list of endangered bird  internationally.

Chir Pheasant

“Not only the Chir Pheasant but rare birds like, Pipit Bird, Rose Finch and Himalayan Monal have also been endangered due to several reasons including forests fires in breeding season every year,” said Surendra Panwar, a researcher and bird watcher of high Himalayan birds in Munsiyari Himalayas.

Eggs of birds in forest bushes

According to Panwar, the rarest of rare Himalayan quail, loved by world famous  ornithologist late Salim Ali, has gone nearly extinct due to all these carelessness by stake holders of Himalayan fauna.

Jagdish Bhatt, founder Director of ‘Wings Foundation’, a NGO working towards preserving Himalayan butterflies, says that out of a total 350 species of butterflies found in Himalayan region, 120 are on the verge of extinction as these breed in host plants that are devastated by forests fires every year.”Even their cater pillar larva gets destroyed in fires making these varieties highly endangered,” said Jagdish Bhatt.

Koklas pheasant

According to sources, Forest Research Institute (FRI) is also carrying out a research project on impact of forest fires on danger being faced by  yellow headed tortoise that is find throughout South Asian region and is listed in schedule 4th of Wild Life Protection Act, 1972  and also listed in appendix of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) due to been endangered.”Under the study to find impact of forest fires on its existence, we will deploy radio transmitter on tortoise track for 2 years in Chilla range of  Rajaji National Park,” said Sanjeev Chaturvedi.



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