While human beings are under lockdown during corona pandemic, the wildlife is thriving in different parts of the world. This small hillside of Landour, Mussoorie is also bustling with different species of Himalayan birds and animals. One can experience spotting wildlife in most unexpected terrains and mountain tracts.
It happened so, when I had to rush to the market to fetch groceries amidst lockdown. Enroute I could sense that, once busy and congested mountain roadways, now had very few vehicles moving around. I could feel the fresh mountain breeze and was lost in the breathtaking view of the mountains. But time was ticking fast and I had to reach home before the curfew period started. So I took the shortest route possible and headed forward.
No sooner the vehicle started an adult Himalayan Goral came galloping from the rocky mountain slope onto the road, in front of the vehicle and hurriedly made its way across the other side. I was startled at the rare sighting of the Himalayan Goral in this busy part of the mountain bypass road. But to my astonishment, I could see another Himalayan Goral waiting patiently to cross the road. The vehicle engine stopped and I could see the Goral from a very close proximity.
It was agile and alert and looked at me with its curious doe – eyes. I tried to click some pictures. After somewhile, it followed a small tract in the woods and made sure that there is not any danger on the bypass road and cautiously galloped towards the other side of the woody mountain slope. I was amazed at its calculated and confident jump from the high hills. I hope, it’s companion must be still waiting on the other side. I still couldn’t believe that I could spot a Himalayan Goral in this once busy mountain road. This beautiful moment will always be there in some corner of my mind.
The Himalayan Goral (Naemorhedus goral) is a member of Bovidae family. They are found in the Himalayan region, at an elevation between 1000 and 4000 m. These social animals live in herds. It is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List due to declining and hunting. They are also expert climbers and can easily camouflage with the natural environment. I could see few human settlements on the hillside along the mountain bypass. Gorals must have ventured the site in search of food and curiosity.
I was a student of Forestry, when I first came to know about Himalayan Goral. Memories of my visit to Rajaji National Park, Uttarakhand are still fresh in my mind when our mentor showed us one rocky mountain tract near Dhaulkhand Range and told that it was inhabited by gorals. I tried many times to spot atleast one Mountain Goral but was disappointed everytime. Destiny has its own way, today I not only spotted the species from close proximity but also clicked Himalayan Goral.
These wild animals are slowly venturing into man-made landscapes in search of food and water which has imposed threat to their lives. Beside with reports on human-animal conflict and poaching, there are cases of road -accidents also. As humans are mostly confined at home, the pollution levels in the urban, turban and rural areas has decreased which is respite to Mother nature to heal. I was pleased to see wild animals exploring uncharted spaces with the less human interference. Nature has its own way to replenish and heal in a matter of time. The wildlife adapts to the changing environment and if left undisturbed it can heal itself.
The web of life is a close-knit structure and nature and mankind are interrelated as well as interdependent. The pandemic has opened our eyes and has forced us to rethink values associated with trees and forests. This intricate relationship of man and wild and has provided an opportunity for us to admire, protect and conserve Nature and wildlife. Today’s incedence reminds me of one of famous movie ‘I am legend’ where world is infectrd by a virus, the wildlife has encroached human settlements and the actor attempts to find a way to reverse the effects of the man-made virus by using his own immune blood. With humanity under lockdown, and wildlife sneaking into cities, I hope that the world recovers fast and Himalayan Gorals won’t have to risk their lives.
©All images and content are subjected to copyright
© 2019 – 2021 chandrimadebi.com
- Wild mushrooms of Landour, Mussoorie
- Monsoon blooms in the hillside: Landour, Mussoorie
- Verbascum thapsus or Common Mullein: A medicinally important plant of the hills
- Nature walk with kids: Forestry for kids
- Ganga Tulsi, Gangotri: homonym or different species?
adventure biodiversity bird blog blogger blogging botany climate change clouds conservation corona COVID deforestation Dehradun ecology enviromnent environment featured flora flower forest Forestry geology Himalaya Himalayas Landour Mussoorie nature nature-photography outdoor photography plant poem poetry responsible tourism river sky tourism travel tree tree-photography Uttarakhand wilderness wildlife writing