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Deforestation threatens endangered bird in Nagaland

Kohima: Deforestation and conversion of land for agriculture has caused habitat loss leading to threat to Blyth`s tragopan, an endangered bird, in Nagaland.

According to the latest annual report of the forest and wildlife department, large-scale hunting and snaring of this enchanting bird by people for food was also a big threat.

It said, excessive human intervention into the pheasant?s habitats was rapidly fragmenting the remaining habitats of this avian species.

The Blyth?s tragopan is listed in Schedule-I of Wildlife (Protection) Act and classified as vulnerable on International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red data list.

The bird is found in the foothills of Saramati mountain bordering Myanmar, Fakim wildlife sanctuary, Dzuku valley, Khonoma, Pfutsero, Meluri, Noklak and Mount Paona and Benreu in Peren district.

The report said the captive breeding project under World Pheasant Association (WPA) was successful in the state.

But though the number of birds increased, it said, its quality and character degenerated due to inbreeding.

Under the agreement, the WPA was obligated to promote the off-site captive breeding of the bird in the United Kingdom and to build up a viable stock in case of future requirement for re-introduction back in Nagaland, it said.

The WPA also assured to train personnel in the technique of tragopan breeding.

Although captive breeding was initially carried out successfully at Kohima Zoological Park, it could not be sustained due to lack of proper infrastructure and technical proficiency.

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