by R Acharya · Cited by 2 — Programme Coordinator of ACAP, Mr. Navraj Chanpagain, GIS officer of ACAP, Carol Inskipp,. Chairperson, Nepal Rare Birds Committee, Rajendra Narsingh Suwal,

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MONITORING OF THE CHEER PHEASANT Catreus wallicJlii IN LOWER KALIGADAKI VALLEY, MUSTANG, NEPAL Report Submitted By Raju Acharya (Sharma) Suresh Thapa Yadav Ghimirey (June, 2006) Report submitted to King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation, Annapurna Conservation Area Project, Nepal Unit Conservation Office, Jomsom

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Abstract The first systematic study of Cheer Pheasant Catreus wallichii in Kaligandaki valley was done in 2004 by allocating seven calling pOints. Out of seven, five were located randomly with the help of multistage sampling and rest of two were located purposely. This Monitoring programme was succeeding part of protocol design for the Cheer Pheasant in the same area of Kaligandaki valley. This monitoring programme was done to check the status of Cheer Pheasant by comparing with the status of 2004. Monitoring programme was carried out from 12th May to 2nd June of 2006. Maximum of 11 calls (calling sites) were heard in the study area. Altogether 7 birds were directly observed in Pudhar Kharka only. Total mean call of the study area was found 7 birds, using the factor derived by Young et al. (1987), the total number of breeding population (pairs) was estimated to be 5.25 in the study area. Potential area for the Cheer Pheasant in the study site is about 22.16 km2, if we extrapolate; it gives the 59 breeding birds. Altogether 59 breeding population of Cheer Pheasant found within the total potential area of three Village Development committees. Based on the descriptive analysis, the mean population density of the species in the study area was estimated to be 2.65 breeding birds! km2 and the mean population density at 95% confidence limit ranges between 0.92 to 4.39 breeding bird! km2 (by applying the correction factor). With the help of potential habitat, we extrapolated the total population size of the species in the valley (covers three village development committees of Kaligandaki valley) to be 20 to 97 breeding birds (pairs) by applying correction factor. Two surveys (2004 and 2006) though showed a marginal decline, is statistically insignificant (Wilcoxcon Signed Rank Test, Z = 0.5416, N = 13, W= 16, ow= ±28.62, \Jw=O at 95% confidence limit), suggesting that Cheer population continue to survive in good status in this area. Surveys covering all Cheer habitats, regular population and ecological monitoring, study on grazing and burning impact, and raising conservation awareness among stakeholders are recommended.

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Monitoring of Cheer Pheasant in Kaligandaki Valley, Nepal, 2006 (For academic purposes preferred citation is: Achatya, R.S., Thapa, S. and Ghimirey, Y. 2006. Monitoring of the Cheer Pheasant in Lower Kaligandaki Valley, Mustang, Nepal. Final report submitted to King Mahelldra Trust for Nature Conservation’s Annapurna Conservation Area Project) 4

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Monitoring of Cheer Pheasant in KaIigandaki Valley, Nepal, 2006 Acknowledgements This study was almost impossible without financial support from King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation’s Annapuma Conservation Area Project. Therefore, we are most grateful to Mr. Kirti Paudel Project Coordinator of ACAP and Lizan Kumar Maskey, Programme Officer of ACAP for providing grants and logistic support for the entire study period. Same appreciation goes to Manish Raj Pandey , officer in charge of ACAP Jomsom. We would like to thank Dr. Siddhartha Bajra Bajracharya of KMTNC, Roshan Sherchan former Programme Coordinator of ACAP, Mr. Navraj Chanpagain, GIS officer of ACAP, Carol Inskipp, Chairperson, Nepal Rare Birds Committee, Rajendra Narsingh Suwal, Director of Lumbini Crane Sanctuary, Dr. Peter J. Garson, School of Biology, King George VI building, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, Dr. Hem Sagar Baral, Bird Conservation Nepal, Nabin Baral and all the staff of ACAP Jomsom for their endless cooperation and suggestion for the completion of study in the area and during the reporting period. We would like to thank Shanta Thakali , owner of Hotel Himalayan of Larjung, Kobhang for her support during the study period and all the people of lower Kaligandaki valley who supported us during the entire study period. Last but not least, we would like to thank Friends of Nature for their encouragement to complete the study. 5

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Monitoring of Cheer Pheasant in KaIigandaki Valley, Nepal, 2006 1.0 BACKGROUND AND JUSTIFICATION .. 7 2.0 STUDY AREA 7 3.0 STUDY SPECIES . 8 4.0 OBJECTIVES .. 9 5.0 METHODOLOGY 9 6.0 DATA ANALYSIS 10 6.1 Breeding Population Estimation (BPE) 10 6.2 Descriptive Statistics . 10 6.3 Mean population density . 10 7.0 RESULT AND DISCUSSION . 11 7.1 Breeding population based on Young et al. 1987 . 11 7.2 Descriptive analysis 12 7.2.1 Density and population estimation 12 7.3 Nest description 12 7.4 Sightings of Cheer Pheasants 12 7.5 Vegetation survey 13 7.6 Comparison of observation 13 7.7 Habitat assessment . 14 8.0 RECOMMENDATIONS . 15 8.1 Regular monitoring 15 8.2 Demarcation of potential Cheers habitat.. .. 15 8.3 Promotion of bird tourism .. 15 8.4 Impact study of Cheer and Crane Conservation Committees .. 15 References .. 16 Cheer monitoring programme in snaps 17 6

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Kilome1er. Map of the study area Monitoring of CheerPheas3nt jn Kaligandaki Valley, Nepal, 2006 N LEGEIID [J VDC boUndMY NTrail. NRiversiStreams Ł HouseslBuildilgs Llndu$o Aglicuitllt __ forest Grassland SluublaoolBush ;;:_:; SandJGravel DBalfellland _WatelbOdy Ł Ro(k fall:Culling Source: KMTNC/ACAP/GIS section 3.0 STUDY SPECIES Cheer Pheasant is a relict and monotypic represented by single species in the genera catreus (Del Hoyo et a1. 1994) .It is a medium sized bird among the Pheasants. It is a protected bird of Nepal under the National Park and Wildlife Protection Act 1973 (HMG 1973) and is listed among the vulnerable species in mCN Red Data Book (Fuller and Garson 2000, Birdlife International 2001). Cheer has been observed in Rara National Park, Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve, Annapuma Conservation Area (ACA) and Jumla district. Cheer Pheasant is popular for its local name Cheer in 8

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Monitoring of Cheer Pheasant in Kaligandaki Valley, Nepal, 2006 all places within the study area of Kaligandaki valley. It is vulnerable and endemic to Indian subcontinents. It has long, broadly barred tail, pronounced crest and red facial skin. Male is cleanlier and strongly marked than female with pronounced barring on mantle, unmarked neck and broader barring across tail (Grimmett et at. 2000). The male is 90-118 cm and female is 61-76 cm in length. Typical views are flying downhill, when buff, grey and brown coloration and long broadly banded tail are diagnostic. Both sex are brown, have brown crest (longer on male) and red facial skin (Subedi 2003). Juvenile is like female but lacks crest and is less heavily marked (Grimmett et at. 1998). Species is patchily distributed, shy and having soundless flight. Flight seems like the variegated laughing thrush (Garrulax variegatus) whenever short and bullet gliding towards the downhill whenever long span. 4.0 OBJECTIVES Objectives of the study program were, To find out the status of Cheer Pheasant. To Compare the population of Cheer Pheasant with 2004 5.0 METHODOLOGY A detailed study was made of population using the dawn call count census method at all seven call point of permanent blocks established by the ACAP (Acharya, 2004). Call counts were carried out on three consecutive mornings at each point. Counts were not made in heavy rainfall. The Cheer Pheasant call count sheet developed by Gaston (1980) and Subedi (2003) with some modification was used to record data. At each point, measurements was taken on physical parameters, habitat types, levels of human impact (hunting and snaring, trails, firewood and fodder collection, Non-Timber Forest Product (NTFP) collection, grazing, and fire) with the help of habitat analysis form. Some ordinal divisions (none, some, and much) were made to note down the level of human disturbance. Group discussions were carried out in most of the village and informal discussion with shepherds and hunters were made to get information about the habitat and species. 9

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Monitoring of Cheer Pheasant in KaIigandaki Valley, Nepal, 2006 6.0 DATA ANALYSIS 6.1 Breeding Population Estimation (BPE) The survey was being conducted during May and June (prior to monsoon). Multiplying the number of calling sites detected before sunrise by a factors of 0.75 probably produces the best available estimate of the breeding population (pairs) within the survey area (Young et al. 1987). -BPE=:L xxO.75 Where Total Mean of the study area 6.2 Descriptive Statistics The descriptive analysis was done to represent the collected data for the further interpretation. Since the sampling plot were repeated so that pooled mean, standard deviation and the variance were prefered to represent the overall status of the species in the area. = nlxl +n,x2 . n7x7 x = – nl +n2 -7 a= a2 = (nl -1)aI2 +(n2 -1)a; (n7 nl +n2 . -7 -x = Mean of the mean or pooled mean x = Mean of the each plot a = Standard deviation a2 = Variance n = Number of repeated measure in each station 6.3 Mean population density The mean population density was estimated based on pooled mean (mean of mean) divided by the total area covered in each station, which has been calculated based on 300 meter radius. Population density could be calculated whether for the station or for the entire station. This estimate was then extrapolated for the entire population assuming that the sex ratio of species l:l(Subedi, 2003). 10

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Monitoring of Cheer Pheasant in Kaligandaki Valle}-, NepalJ2006 Mean population density = —–==——A (Entire area of station) 7.0 RESULT AND DISCUSSION Altogether 21 days were spent in the field and 7 (five were selected using stratified random and two were selected purposively) call points were surveyed. Calls were absent in Bunga call points. Local guide and porter were hired for the survey. The status and distribution of Cheer Pheasant were analysed. During the call count, a maximum of 11 calling sites were found in the study area. Minimum call was found in Sekung, Titi and Bunga area where as the maximum calls were heard in the Sarkhu of Jhipradeurali (Kunjo VDC). During the survey period 7 Cheer were seen in Pudhar area. F· Id h d I t; Ch le se e u e or ·t . P eer mom ormg rogramme Date Place Programme 12th May-14th May Pokhara to Jomsom On the ,vay 14tJ1May Reached to site, Acclimatization Sekung 15th May SektUlg Call COtUlt 16th May Sekung Call count lihMay Sekung to Titi Call COlUlt and move to Titi area 18tJ1May Titi Call COtUlt 19t1lMay Titi Call COlUlt 20tt1May Titi to Pangmo Call COlUlt and Move to Pangmu 21st May Pangmu Call count 2211145 KB – 18 Pages