Rare Scottish-bred tragopan pheasants flown out to India as part of repopulation program coordinated by the World Pheasant Organisation.
Nine rare pheasants flew from Scotland to India last week but, thankfully for the rare tragopans, they didn’t have to make the 4,000-mile journey under their own steam.
As part of a breeding programme coordinated by the World Pheasant Association (WPA) and backed by the Indian government, the birds were flown from Scotland’s Highland Wildlife Park in Kingussie on Wednesday (January 9) to their new homes in Darjeeling and Sikkim.
The birds, which are all Satyr tragopans and Temminck’s tragopans, were bred in Scotland and have been donated to an Indian conservation programme, which aims to use them to help restock dwindling populations.
Long-term the plan is for the “British” birds to live in special aviaries in several Indian zoos located in the Himalayas at a similar altitude to that which is natural for tragopans.
The aim is for the staff of these zoos to gain practical experience in breeding tragopans using the birds from the UK with further training from WPA. When this has been achieved, eggs from wild nests in India will be put under the “British” tragopans, which will act as surrogate parents.
In this way, a breeding group of birds originating from within India will develop and these can provide birds for any future reintroduction programme.