Monitoring & Conservation of Cheer Pheasant
(Catreus wallichii) in Jhelum Catchments, Pakistan
Muhammad Naeem Awan*
M.N.Awan. 2011. Monitoring and Conservation of Cheer Pheasant in Jhelum Catchments, Pakistan. Final Progress Report Submitted to Rufford Small Grants Foundation, UK.
Cheer Pheasant in Incubation,
Photo by Muhammad Naeem Awan
Muhammad Naeem Awan
Challa Bandi, Muzaffrarabad
Azad Jammu & Kashmir
Cheer Pheasant is listed as an endangered species in Red Data Book (IUCN). It is found in some areas of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, especially in Jhelum valley where its population is declining due to hunting and habitat degradation by local people. The main habitats of Cheer Pheasant are distributed through southern foothills of the Himalayas from Pakistan to Nepal, occurring in northern Pakistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, two States of India (Himachal Pardesh and Uttar Pardesh) and one of the main threats to the species appears to be its distribution in small isolated population, the control and conservation of habitat is difficult as communities historically dependent on natural resources (Panday and Walls, 1997). Similarly in Jhelum catchment area, cheer pheasant is found in human inhabited areas and community is depending upon the natural resources for their livelihood. Community is conserving the wild areas into agricultural lands for their livelihood, degrading the Cheer Pheasant habitat. Cheer Pheasant’s major population exist in Jhelum Valley in Pakistan and its population was estimated in 2002 for the first time before that it was assumed to be extinct from Pakistan. After 2002 no systematic survey has been conducted on this species in Jhelum valley. The current project was designed to monitor the population trend of Cheer along with some conservation measures. Monitoring and conservation was done in three zones of Jhelum Valley i.e. Pirchinasi Zone, Gari Doppata Zone and Chianri Zone. We established a survey regime for the future monitoring of this threatened species in the project area and build the capacity of the wildlife field staff to monitor these survey plots for population estimates in future. A serious decline has been recorded in the population of Cheer in Two zones (Gari Doppata and Pirchinasi), while major population still survive in Chinari zone. The major finding is the breeding population of cheer from the project areas we found nine nests with eggs. It is recommended that area must be notified as protected area for the future conservation and protection of threatened Cheer Pheasant.
I am sincerely thankful to Rufford Small Grants Foundation for providing me support for this project which has enables me to conduct survey of this important species in this far-flung area of the world after a long period of six year. My thanks are due to my referees for trust in my capabilities and guidance they provided me during the project period especially Professor Z B Mirza and Dr K Ramesh for their Kind attitude. Thanks are also due to Mr. Javid Ayub, Director Wildlife, Azad Jammu & Kashmir, for his encouragement and legal support which he provided during the implementation of the project. I am also thankful to all wildlife field staff especially Raja Nazir Ahmad, Abid Hussain Shah, Khadam Hussain Shah, Safder Mir and Imtiaz Hameed for the help they provided during the field survey.
Last but not least I am really thankful to World Pheasant Association, UK for the technical support which they provided me for this project and overall on the Gallifomes of Pakistan.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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