Harsh winter pushes wild animals into Himachal villages
Shimla: In Himachal Pradesh's higher reaches, where the harsh winter has frozen water resources and wiped out food sources, herds of hoofed wild mammals are moving to lower altitudes. "A few evenings back I saw a herd of Asiatic ibex strolling through my fields. They often show up in the village these days," Dolma Bodh, a villager in the outskirts of Keylong in Lahaul and Spiti district, told IANS.
Severe weather in the higher reaches has prompted wild animals to migrate to lower altitudes, said Divisional Forest Officer Hira Lal Rana in Keylong, around 450 km from here. Rana told IANS that migration of the Asiatic ibex — a wild goat species — and the Himalayan blue sheep or 'bharal' in the Lahaul Valley is common.
The valley's minimum temperature these days is hovering between minus 15 and 20 degrees Celsius. Other forms of wildlife, mainly predators, have followed them. Rana said sightings of the red and the common fox have also gone up in the villages.
"Their presence is testimony to successful conservation measures," he said. Villagers in the Spiti Valley said attacks of the snow leopard, the endangered and elusive wild cat, on livestock increases every winter.