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First Evidence of Himalayan Brown Goral Recorded in Valmiki Tiger Reserve

Valmikinagar, October 27, 2015: The mammal’s checklist of Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR) – the only tiger reserve and national park in Bihar -- has a new addition. Preferring steep but grassy mountain slopes with low tree cover and moderate shrubs interspersed with cliffs, the Himalayan brown goral (Nemorhedus goral) was for the first time sighted and photographed in VTR by a Patna based bird enthusiast and WTI’s Rapid Action Project (RAP) proponent Navin Kumar. Kumar photographed the goral on the way to Naurangia Doan from Harnatanr in the Valmiki Tiger Reserve, Division-2.

“That day, I had just missed a leopard on the way. Disappointed at a missed photo opportunity, I saw an animal on a cliff, and assumed it was a barking deer. It was not clear since the animal was against light and I only had a fraction of a second to see and click,” recalls Mr Kumar, who later on shared the photograph with WTI for identification. “Now, since it is a new find for Valmiki, I do not have any regrets of missing the leopard,” he adds.

The Himalayan goral belongs to family Bovidae and is categorized as ‘Near Threatened’ in the IUCN Red List of threatened species. It is primarily found in northern India east of River Satluj; along the Himalayas to Arunachal Pradesh and north of River Brahmaputra. “Local villagers often mentioned presence of ban bakra (wild goat) in VTR. Perhaps they referred to goral. But, the confirmed photographic record of the species here is a matter of rejoice for conservationists, wildlife lovers and the Bihar Forest Department,” mentioned Dr Samir Kumar Sinha, Regional Head, Wildlife Trust of India.

In 2013, Hoary-bellied squirrel, Himalayan serow, crab-eating mongoose and yellow-throated marten were also recorded for the first time in Valmiki. “In the last two years, this is the fifth species recorded for the first time in Valmiki. Such records energize us. We will monitor the area more intensively to get more evidences of the species and accord desired protection to the goral habitat,” said Mr RB Singh, Field Director, VTR.

VTR lies in the Himalayan foothills and forms the easternmost limit of tiger distribution in Shiwalik hills–Gangetic plain tiger landscape in the India. It is contiguous with Chitwan National Park in Nepal. WTI has been working in VTR for the recovery of tiger and other endangered species since 2003 with support from Bihar Forest Department, US Fish and Wildlife Services, Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU), Prince Bernhard Nature Foundation (PBNF) and Sir Dorabji Tata Trust (SDTT). It is due to unstinting efforts of the field team and support of these partners that a relatively unknown tiger reserve is making news today with evidences of new species inhabiting its wilderness.
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