| 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
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
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
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.