Former state bird of Himachal, monal (impeyan pheasant), an endangered species, will soon get an advanced breeding centre in Manali. The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has approved the proposal for it and design for the centre been finalized.
The exercise to build a centre for keeping a close watch on the breeding of Himalayan monal was started in 2009, but the centre is in a bad condition due to lack of funds. Now the advanced centre would come up in its place. Many designs were rejected and finally the Zoo Authority of India ratified an ultra modern design for a centre for the Himalayan monal (lophophorus impejanus). To keep a close watch on birds, cameras would be installed in the cages and a stud book would be maintained. Each bird will get a name and their complete case study data since birth would be prepared. At present, the Manali centre has 5 pairs of monal while Himachal has about 5,000.
Divisional forest officer (wildlife) B S Rana told Discover Kullu Manali that CZA will soon install cages and cameras to record the activities of monal. “This would definitely prove a vital step in the conservation of the Himalayan monal. They would get a new life after this move,” he said. Rana said cages would be designed according to the weather conditions in Manali, so that even heavy snowfall would not have any effect on them.
Great Himalayan National Park director Ajay Srivastava said poaching for its crest, human interference with nature and increasing pressure on jungles were some of the causes for the dwindling monal numbers. “A number of monals have been killed merely to obtain their beautiful crests. They breed between April and August but their numbers have declined in recent years,” Srivastava said.
The monal centre in Manali would be the first such breeding centre in western Himalayas. Officials at the wildlife department believe that the Himalayan forests will again chirp with the voice of the rare but beautiful monal. The Delhi zoo authority will be spending about Rs 1 crore on this project.
In Himachal the male lophophorus impejanus is called monal, while the female is known as kardi.