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news details
Poaching, habitat fragmentation, livestock grazing taking toll on Markhor population in JK
10/14/2019 10:53:08 PM
Jehangir Rashid
Early Times Report
SRINAGAR, Oct 14: At a time when the Department of Wildlife Protection is claiming that it has taken effective steps to stop poaching of animals the results on the ground depict an altogether different picture.
A survey carried out by Department of Wildlife Protection, Jammu & Kashmir and Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) has pointed out that several loopholes with regards to protection of Markhor in the Kashmir valley. The survey has dwelt upon the various reasons for diminishing population of Markhor also known as wild goat.
"Threats such as poaching, habitat fragmentation (LoC fencing, road construction) and livestock grazing still prevail to threaten the survival of this wild goat (Markhor) in Jammu and Kashmir. Department of Wildlife Protection has initiated some interventions such a regulating livestock grazing, monitoring and protecting critical Markhor habitats which should help Markhor population," reads the survey.
The survey points out that the management interventions and monitoring of Markhor to understand the impact of such interventions has become inevitable. It adds that the number of individuals of a species in an area is the basic ecological parameter crucial to taking decisions on wildlife management and conservation.
"Therefore understanding animal abundance and distribution becomes very important aspect of wildlife studies. Population of a species changes over time and space depending on several factors. Determining the abundance, relative abundance of a species for the purpose of drawing inferences about variation over space or time is monitoring," reads the survey.
The survey says it is imperative to monitor the population of rare and declining species like Markhor to plan management intervention for improving their population. Hirpora Wildlife Sanctuary was notified to save Markhor, but this population will face local extinction if immediate steps are not taken to protect it.
"Hirpora Wildlife Sanctuary is among few of the protected areas in the state with no human settlements within. However, it is extensively used for livestock grazing during late spring to early summer by the migratory and local grazers. The migratory grazers are Gujjars and Bakarwals from Rajouri and Poonch districts. The local grazers are Gujjars and shepherds," reads the survey.
It would be in place to mention here that the Markhor is protected under the Schedule I of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 as well as the Jammu and Kashmir Wildlife (Protection) Act 1978. In India Markhor is found only in Jammu and Kashmir with Kazinag and Pir Panchal as the only viable populations.
The survey report said that the researchers recorded the direct and indirect evidences of other wild animals. There was direct evidence of animals like included Red Fox, Royle Pika, Yellow Throated Martin, Golden Eagle, Himalayan Snow Cock, Bearded Vulture, Himalayan Griffon and Snow Pigeon.
At the same time there was indirect evidence of animals like Himalayan Musk Deer, Himalayan Brown Bear, Tibetan Wolf, Leopard and Himalayan Black Bear. The researchers during the survey documented the evidence both direct and indirect of the wild animals.
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