Bustling wildlife amidst pandemic: Himalayan Goral

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.

©Himalayan Goral

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.

©Once busy mountain roads

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.

© Agile and alert Himalayan Goral

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.

©Goral on the retaining wall

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.

©Closeup view of Goral on retaining wall

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.

©Himalayan Goral in the woods

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.

©Before the final leap

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.


Thank you!!!

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Picture courtesy

https://www.facebook.com/SumanMitraPhotography

https://www.sumanmitra.com/

@chandrimadebi

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Published by Dr. Chandrima Debi

Hi, I am Chandrima Debi. I am a Doctorate in Forestry and an independent researcher. Ever since childhood, I experienced deep-rooted connection with nature, forest and wildlife. I have written various research articles, case studies based on geology, forests, medicinal plants, biodiversity and conservation. Through this blog I share my experiences with nature and forests around us and aid towards the protection and conservation of biodiversity, wildlife and the values associated.

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