KASKI, JUN 24 – Two new bird species have been found in the Annapurna Conservation Area, the country’s largest sanctuary located in the western region.
Paras Bikram Singh, conservation officer at the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP), and Sijan Gyanwali, a researcher, spotted Pied Cuckoo (Clamator jacobinus) and Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps indica), putting the total number of avian species in the region at 490.
In course of their three-month long study, the duo reported the sightings of the two new species in Birethanti and Ghandruk areas inside the ACAP that covers five districts—-Manang, Mustang, Lamjung, Kaski and Myagdi.
This is the first time that these species, believed to be found at an altitude of 400 meters above sea level, were found in the conservation area having an elevation range of 790 m to 8,091 m. “The impact of global warming is affecting the migration pattern. Birds normally found in lower elevations are moving higher in search of suitable habitats,” said Singh.
Pied Cuckoo, locally known as Jure Koili, is a summer migratory bird travelling all the way from Africa and some parts of Asia including Sri Lanka and India to Nepal while Emerald Dove, locally called Haril Dhukur, is a commonly found resident bird in the lowlands of Nepal, said Hem Sagar Baral, senior ornithologist and country manager at Zoological Society of London.
In the last 15 years, nine species of animals have been found in the ACAP region, including the rare Pallas’ cat species in Upper Manang early this year. This small wild exotic cat, Otocolobus manul, a native to the grassland and steep regions of Central Asia, was captured in a camera for the first time in the country.
Other new discoveries for the region are musk deer in Mustang (two years ago), wild donkey, Eurasian Eagle and some butterfly species. “Due to its proximity with India and China borders, ACAP receives various new guests,” said Ashok Subedi, a conservation officer at the Pokhara office of ACAP.