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Interactions between Ladakh Urial & Livestock

The Ladakh urial (Ovis vignei vignei) is a highly endangered animal, found only in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir State. By the 1960s and 1970s, hunting for trophies and meat had reduced its numbers to a few hundred. It was then given an upgraded protection level by law. Strict enforcement and increasing conservation awareness levels led to a decrease in hunting and the urial population now seems to have increased to about 1000 - 1500 in Ladakh.

To find out more about these elusive animals, WPSI, in collaboration with the International Snow Leopard Trust and the Wildlife Institute of India, supported a study on the Ladakh urial in November 2002.

The study aimed to answer the following questions:

Does the competition for fodder between the Ladakh urial and local domestic livestock lead to a lack of food resources for the urial in winter? And would the lack of food, in turn, lead to changes in the male-female and age ratios of the urial population? How intense was the competition between the wild and domestic animals?

It was expected that competition for food and habitat would result in the urial suffering on both counts. The study found that to be true. The competition also changed the urials’ population structure - it was found to change with differences in numbers of domestic livestock in the area. However quantifying the extent of the competition will require a more long-term study.

Bindu Raghavan of the Wildlife Institute of India, under the supervision of Dr. Yashveer Bhatnagar and Mr. Qamar Qureshi, carried out the project.


 

 

 

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