Published: Sunday 30 November 2003

The endangered cheer, a pheasant found only in a few pockets in the western Himalaya, has been successfully reared in captivity for the first time in India. Lalit Mohan, a zoologist cum forester in the Himachal Pradesh wildlife department, managed the feat at a pheasantry in Chail, a hill resort in the state. Mohan used a technique called 'parent rearing'. Five pairs of these congenitally shy birds were carefully reared. Of the 31 eggs they laid, five survived and are now 6 months old.

This feat could go a long way in ensuring the effective conservation of this species, which finds mention in the Red book of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and figures in Schedule 1 of the list of protected wild life species in India.

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