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Last Updated : Aug 22, 2019 11:12 AM IST | Source: Hindustan Times

Rare brown bear, musk deer spotted in Himalayan wildlife sanctuary

The Pangi Valley, around 450 km from Shimla, is located between the Greater Himalayas and Pir Panjal range in Chamba district.

Hindustan Times @moneycontrolcom
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Image: Wikimedia Commons

A rare species of Himalayan brown bear and white-bellied musk deer were spotted by forest officials at the Sechun Tuan Nalla Wildlife Sanctuary.

Located in Pangi, the 390-sq km sanctuary remains cut off for eight months in a year, and they were found by the Himachal Pradesh forest department during a census check.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature has categorised brown bear as a critically endangered species and musk deer as endangered.


"The census is important for any protected area as it gives an idea of the population of a particular species and is a tool to carry out conservation," pointed out divisional forest officer (wildlife) Nishant Mandhotra.

"Twenty-seven people, including forest officials, guards and volunteers were divided into five teams and they carried out the census [from July 1 to 4]," he added.

The Pangi Valley, around 450 km from Shimla, is located between the Greater Himalayas and Pir Panjal range in Chamba district.

Bipin C Rathore, a wildlife expert who has done research on the brown bear, said the species was facing extinction as its habitat was rapidly shrinking due to developmental activities. He said the species is found only in the forests of Chamba district in India.

Experts say musk deer faces threats due to hunting for the musk pod, a gland found in the male deer, which is used in making perfumes, incense material and medicines.

Other prominent species sighted during the census include Himalayan ibex, red fox, Royle’s Pika and Himalayan stoat.

"An unusual discovery was the long-tailed marmot. The species was sighted for the first time in Sechu Tuan. Earlier, there was no documentary evidence of its presence in the area, though it is found in abundance in Ladakh," said Mandhotra.

He added a snow leopard was also spotted in the sanctuary. "There was no direct sighting but it was clicked by camera traps," he said.

The survey teams also recorded over 50 species of birds, most of which were directly sighted except the Himalayan monal and koklass pheasant. They were identified based on their calls.

"Twelve species of butterflies and two reptile species were also found," said Mandhotra. He added 35 herbs and shrubs were also reported to have been found.

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First Published on Aug 22, 2019 11:12 am
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