A critically endangered species of pheasants named 'Cheer' rescued in injured condition by a Range Officer two days ago from Thanthera forest area of Neeru Range of Bhaderwah in Jammu and Kashmir's Doda district, was on Monday released into its natural habitat.
The one and half year old Cheer pheasant had suffered injuries on its wing and a leg possibly caused either by the attack of some wild animal or by hunters, Range Officer of Bhaderwah forest division, Shafqat Mahmood Malik, who rescued the bird, told Greater Kashmir.
The officer later took the injured bird to the Forest Division Bhaderwah, where it was given treatment at its Wildlife Rescue and Transit Facility for two days.
The critically endangered pheasant was released to its natural habitat near Thanthera forest, around 12 kilometres from Bhaderwah town early Monday morning by Conservator Forest Chenab Circle, Sat Paul Pakhru along with DFO Bhaderwah, Chander Shekhar, DFO Demarcation, Mohinder Jamwal and officials of Neeru Forest Range.
Pakhru said the pheasant species is one of the critically endangered species and is mentioned in Red list category of IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) as "most vulnerable species", which needs to be conserved for the survival of mankind.
The Cheer pheasant's habitat is Himalayas and in J&K, it is found in Bhadarwah and Bonjwah areas of Chenab valley, Pakhru said.
The Conservator Forest Chenab Circle also commended RO Neeru Range, Shafqat Mehmood Malik and his team for his efforts of saving the vulnerable bird.
It is pertinent to mention here that the cheer pheasant, also known as Wallich's pheasant or chir pheasant, is a vulnerable species of the pheasant family, Phasianidae. It is the only member in the genus Catreus.
The environmentalists at the Institute of Mountain Environment, Bhaderwah Campus while appreciating the rescue of the endangered bird, have raised serious concern over the rapidly decreasing number of the rare species of pheasants due to hunting.
Head of the institute, Dr Neeraj Sharma called for a mission to conserve the species while urging people not to hunt wild birds.
Significantly, most of the pheasants found in Indian Himalayas belong to species listed endangered by the IUCN. They are also protected under the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972 and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.