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Feeding Ecology, Threats and Conservation Management of Kalij Pheasant (Lophura leucomelanos) in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan

Feeding Ecology, Threats and Conservation Management of Kalij Pheasant (Lophura leucomelanos) in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan

Muhammad Furqan and Zulfiqar Ali

Environmental Health and Wildlife Laboratory, Institute of Zoology, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan

 
* Corresponding author: zali.zool@pu.edu.pk

ABSTRACT

Pheasants are bioindicators of our ecosystem and their population is declining. We investigated diet composition and threats to kalij pheasant Lophura leucomelanos to prepare conservation and management strategies in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan. The diet analysis was done through crop contents of kalij pheasants, threats were assessed through field surveys, communities meeting, and data from 250 questionnaires during April 2020 and March 2021. Based on analysis of threats data, conservation management strategies are recommended. The diet analysis showed that mostly the kalij consumes plant matter as the major diet. We recovered 45 plant species in major, minor, and trace forms which consisted of seeds, leaves, flowers, fruits, rhizomes, and bulbs. Invertebrates including ants, insects, larvae, and grit were also recorded. According to respondents the highest sighting (62.4%) of kalij pheasant was recorded from the forest, followed by cultivated land (20.4%). Major threats to kalij pheasant include forest fire (41.6%), followed by hunting (27.2%), habitat destruction (18.8%), and natural predators (12.4%). The hunting (n=142) of kalij and hunting index (0.855) was recorded during the study period. The maximum hunting was in the evening (54.23%, n=77) followed by night (28.87%, n=41) and the main purpose was food. Stealing of eggs and chicks capturing was recorded from many sites. As per respondents, local community is also concerned about the conservation of this species. Development of more protected areas for conservation, awareness education, implementation of wildlife laws, patrolling of officials in the breeding season, and long-term monitoring plan can help in the conservation of kalij pheasant.

 

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Pakistan Journal of Zoology

October

Vol. 54, Iss. 5, Pages 2003-2500

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