Bhaderwah, Sep 14: A critically endangered species of pheasants which has been named UT Bird of Jammu and Kashmir-'Kaleej' was rescued in injured condition by a bird lover five days ago from Jaie forest area of Chirala Range of Bhaderwah in Jammu and Kashmir's Doda district, was on Wednesday released into its natural habitat.
The fully grown two year old Kaleej pheasant had suffered injuries on its left wing possibly caused either by the attack of some wild animal or by hunters, Imtiaz-Ur-Rehman Butt, rescued the bird, told Greater Kashmir.
The injured pheasant which was reportedly captured by a group of tribal nomads at Bach-Dhar forest in Jaie area about 70 km from Bhaderwah town, who brought the beautiful bird to the market for selling it.
The pheasant was rescued by Imtiaz-Ur-Rehman, who took it to home in Sarafan Mohalla locality, where it was given treatment for 5 days with the help of some experts.
"Some tribal people from Jaie came to me to sell the injured pheasant which they have captured from Bac-Dhar forest. I treated the Kaleej for 5 days and today I'm happy to set it free in it's habitat in fit condition," said Imtiaz-Ur-Rehman.
" Although government has declared Kaleej Peasant as state bird but unfortunately authorities have taken it seriously to save this beautiful but endangered bird as hunters still kill them at will,"Rehman added.
The critically endangered UT Bird was released to its natural habitat near Bach Dhar forest, around 70 kilometres from Bhaderwah town early Wednesday morning by the Imtiaz along with his family members.
Dr Neeraj Sharma, HoD Institute of Mountain Environment, Bhaderwah Campus 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 Kaleej pheasant's habitat is Himalayas and in J&K, it is found in Bhadarwah, Kellar, Chirala and Bhalessa areas of Chenab Circle, Dr Neeraj said.
It is pertinent to mention here that the Kaleej pheasant, is a vulnerable species of the pheasant family, Phasianidae. It was declared as UT Bird in 2021 after the bifurcation of the state.
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.