Sclater's Monal and Himalayan Monal sighted in Arunachal's Upper Siang
A Sclater's Monal (left) and a Himalayan Monal (right)

Pasighat: In a significant finding for Avifauna diversity of Arunachal Pradesh, the Sclater’s Monal (Lophophorus Sclateri) and Himalayan Monal (Lophophorus Impejanus) were sighted at the Mount Eko Dumbing that lies between Yingkiong and Singga in Upper Siang district. 

The birds were sighted by wildlife enthusiasts Obang Mibang, Dr Tajir Tamuk, and Geyon Tayeng while on an expedition to Mount Eko Dumbing led by Everester Kishon Tekseng and his team in the last week of April this year.

Mount Eko Dumbing, situated at an altitude of 4173 metres above mean sea level, is one of the highest peaks in the Upper Siang district, covered with snow for most of the year. It is home to various species of flora and fauna.

Sclater’s Monal is endemic to high mountain ridges of northeast India, southern China, and northern Myanmar. Listed as ‘vulnerable’ by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to habitat loss and hunting, such sightings help in understanding the species’ distribution. 

A single male was sighted near Komji Lipik at an altitude of 2850 metres above MSL. Himalayan Monal, a colourful bird, is more widely distributed from Afghanistan to Northeast India in the Himalayan ranges. A male and female were sighted at Bomeh at an altitude of 3,700 metres above MSL. 

“Eko Dumbing and Upper Siang have rich flora and fauna biodiversity, a paradise for wildlife and nature lovers that should be conserved”, said Dr Tajir Tamuk, an orthopaedic surgeon and wildlife enthusiast.

Everester Kishon Tekseng, who belongs to Upper Siang and led the team, feels the same. “Locales need to conserve it for wildlife tourism which will benefit local youths the most,” he said. 

Another wildlife enthusiast Obang Mibang said, “The area needs to be conserved, preserved and protected for its ecosystem, the diversity of species, and cultural and religious importance”. 

Sclater’s Monal and Himalayan Monal were earlier recorded from Mayodia Pass and Sela Pass in Arunachal Pradesh, but this is the first photographic record of these birds from Upper Siang district. A total of 80 species of birds were also recorded during the mountain expedition. 

“Sclater’s Monal is an endemic bird of Eastern Himalaya, mostly recorded at the junction of India, Myanmar, Tibet and Yunnan province of China. 

It is a high altitude bird, rarely come down below 1,500 metre. Restricted to Arunachal in the Indian side. Its population is estimated to be around 10000. So it is listed in vulnerable category of threatened species and is scheduled I species of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972″, said assistant professor (Zoology), RGU Dr Daniel Mize.

Sighting the birds at Eko Dumbing indicate a pristine habitat and the need to protect the habitat, Dr Mize said.

Regarding Himalayan Monal, the assistant professor said it is a more common bird, however, it is only found in the Himalayan range in India and sighting them at Eko Dumbing together means the area must be one of the most suitable habitats left. So, it is an important bird in the state which may need protection. 

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