Pheasants remain among the least studied but most popular species targeted by hunters and trappers in many parts of Nepal. Cheer Pheasant Catreus wallichii, is classified as rare and Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, an Endangered species in the National Red List of Birds in Nepal, and one of nine protected priority bird species of Nepal. Despite its global and national significance, it has been declining in Nepal, and in other parts of its range. Snaring and hunting are the main causes for its decline in Nepal. Furthermore, scientific research and conservation efforts for the Cheer Pheasant have been focused on a few Protected Areas (PAs), ignoring the large areas of its range that lie outside the PAs system. Despite the species' occurrence being reported opportunistically, no fieldwork focusing on Cheer Pheasant has been carried out in Far-Western Nepal. Therefore, from 2014 to 2016, a survey and informal interviews were conducted in Baitadi, Achham and Bajura districts of Far-Western Nepal to learn more about the species' status, distribution, and conservation challenges. As a result of this work, Cheer Pheasant has been found in new locations in Nepal, including Pancheshwor Rural Municipality in Baitadi, Mangalsen Municipality in Achham and Badimalika Municipality in Bajura District. The main anthropogenic threats to the species in Far-Western Nepal include trapping, shooting, egg collection, and forest fire. The species has already disappeared from some locations where local people observed them frequently in the past. Therefore, intensive study of the relationship between Cheer Pheasant and underlying threats is necessary. Additionally, conservation campaigns should be focused on hunting groups and local people, as awareness in the region is poor.
Vol. 22 • No. 1
Vol. 22 • No. 1