ENVIS Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Tuesday, December 18, 2018

State Symbols of HP

State bird of Himachal Pradesh

Western Tragopan (Tragopan melanocephalus)

In 2007 at the 3rd State Wildlife Board meeting, the Western Tragopan (Tragopan melanocephalus), locally known as jujurana, the King of Birds replaced the Monal as the State Bird of Himachal Pradesh.

It is endemic to a narrow range in the temperate region of the Greater Himalaya, between Northwest Frontier Province in Pakistan and western Uttarakhand in India (Birdlife International 2001).

It is classified as Vulnerable on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).  As per 2012 reports, there are about 2,500 to 3,500 individuals of this bird.

Identification:

 

Males are mostly greyish-black, ornately spotted with round, black-bordered white dots and possess a conspicuous red collar, upper breast, and facial skin. They also boast a short crest along their crown, two brightly-coloured fleshy horns and a brilliantly coloured lappet that hangs from the throat.

Females are more brownish grey, both above and below, and lack the colourful adornments of the male.

Male: 68-73 cm;  Female: 60 cm.

The Western Tragopan is believed to be primarily monogamous. A rudimentary nest is established either on the ground or in trees. Clutches of two to six eggs are incubated solely by the female, males helps tend to the chicks once hatched.

Habitat degradation and fragmentation through subsistence farming, browsing of under storey shrubs by livestock, tree-lopping for animal fodder and fuel wood-collection are the main threats. Disturbance by grazers and collectors of edible fungi and medicinal plants seriously interfere with nesting. Hunting and trapping for its meat and its decorative plumage pose additional threats.

Presently, there are 24 captive birds in Sarahan Pheasantry which is the only place in the world to hold Western Tragopan in captivity.

Central Zoo Authority (CZA) of India had approved a Project for Conservation Breeding of Western Tragopan at Sarahan Pheasantry during 2003-04. From 2010-11 onwards, Wildlife Institute of India has also been associated in this programme for effective implementation of this conservation programme both at in-situ and ex-situ level.

Sources: Himachal Pradesh Forest Department; http://www.arkive.org/western-tragopan/tragopan-melanocephalus/; http://www.birdlife.org.

 

 

State Animal of Himachal Pradesh

 

Snow leopard (Panthera uncia)

 

 

 

Snow leopard (Panthera uncia) is now the state animal of Himachal Pradesh. It has replaced the musk deer.

The Snow Leopard is restricted to the high mountains of Central Asia, with core areas including the Altai, Tian Shan, Kun Lun, Pamir, Hindu Kush, Karakorum and Himalayan ranges. Five states, three in the western Himalayan region - Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttarakhand, and two in the north-eastern region – Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, are known to host snow leopards in the country.

The snow leopard is listed in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, and is classified as ‘endangered’ by the IUCN Red List. The global Snow Leopard population is estimated at 4,080-6,590;  India: 200-600.

An estimated presence of 35 wildcats is expected in this hill state. Efforts are underway to install six radio or satellite collar under Project Snow Leopard to ascertain their exact number.

Apart from the Spiti Valley, the state’s Pin Valley National Park, the Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary, the Great Himalayan National Park and the Pangi and Bharmour areas of Chamba district have a sizeable population of snow leopard.

Their exquisite smoky-grey fur is an excellent camouflage against the rocky slopes they live in. The snow leopard is known for its whitish tan, woolly and dense fur with ashy brown, ringed rosettes and spots. An adult snow leopard weighs between 35 and 55 kg (77-121 lbs), and stands approximately 60 cm (24 in) tall at the shoulder. They measure 0.9 to 1.15 m (3 to 4.75 ft) from their head to rump, and have a tail up to 1 meter (40 inches) in length. Males are approximately 30% larger than females, but otherwise the sexes are difficult to tell apart.

Major threats to the Snow Leopard include prey base depletion, illegal trade, conflict with local people, and lack of conservation capacity, policy and awareness.

Sources: http://www.iucnredlist.org, http://www.snowleopard.org/, Himachal Pradesh Forest Department, http://www.wti.org.in/

 

 

State Flower of Himachal Pradesh:

 

Pink Rhododendron (Rhododendron campanulatum)

Pink Rhododendron (Rhododendron campanulatum) is now the state flower of Himachal. According to the reports of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Pink Rhododendron comes under the endangered species of flower.

There are over 900 different species of rhododendrons all over the world. Most of the species are found in Southeast Asia, from the Himalayas through Pakistan, Tibet, Bhutan, China, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam, to Malaysia, Indonesia, Phillipines and New Guinea.

It is native to India and widely distributed in Himalayan regions from Jammu & Kashmir to Sikkim, at altitudes between 2400 and 5200 m.

Corolla is tubular-campanulate with up to 4 cm long tube. Fruits are cylindrical, straight to curved, green, turning brown and many black-seeded.

Each flower is shaped like a small bell about 1 - 1.5 inch long. They bloom from spring to early summer, and the flowers are a pink to purple in color with some dark blotches.

 Its wood is moderately hard and used as an excellent fuel. However, the smoke from the wood is an irritant.

Leaves are used in chronic rheumatism, syphilis and sciatica. They are mixed with tobacco and used as snuff to cure hemicrania and cold. Leaves are poisonous to live stocks due to the presence of a toxic substance called andromedotoxin.

Sources:http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org, http://www.oneindia.com, http://bsienvis.nic.in, http://hillpost.in, Manas Ranjan Debta, Debasmitra Dutta – Pramanick & S.K. Srivastava, Northern Regional Centre, Botanical Survey of India, Dehra Dun