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Monday, August 31, 2009

Wildlife- Western Tragopan (September 15, 1981)

The seventh set in the series of wildlife stamps which are being issued by the Pakistan Post Office to focus attention on the need to preserve wildlife in the country will be released on the 15th September, 1981 This set consists of two stamps of the denominations of 40 paisa and Rs.2/- depicting extremely rare variety of Pheasants namely Western Tragopan. Earlier issues on Wildlife included a set of two stamps each on (i) Black Partridge (30 September, 1975) (ii) Urial (31 December, 1975) (iii) Peacock (31 March, 1976) (iv) lbex (12 July, 1976) (v) four stamps on Pheasants namely Monal, White-crested Kalij, Koklas and Cheer (1 7 June, 1979) and (vi) one stamp on Green Turtle (20 June, 1981).
The Western Tragopan is the rarest of the Pheasants of Pakistan and is locally known as Dargi. The male has a black head with a lower crest; nape sides of neck are deep red, upper breast is bright orange, upper parts finally vermiculated grey and black with white spots. The lower parts are chiefly black with white eyelike spots. The facial skin is bright red and the lap is purplish blue down the centre with irregular pink margins. The female is dark ashy grey in the upper side; the crown is vermiculated with black spots and having narrow white shaft stripes. The back of the head and neck are tinged brownish red.
Tragopan nests in trees unlike that of any other galliformes. The female lays three to six brown eggs faintly speckled in dark-brown. One of the most outstanding characteristics of Tragopan is that during the breeding season the male calls out loudly at dawn as the first ray of light strikes his roosting perch, usually in a pine tree. Tragopan is available in Hazara and Azad Kashmir at an altitude of 2438 meters to 3658metres. A recent survey shows that it has become practically extinct in Hazarä but still exists in Azad Kashmir. It inhabits in the steepest of the forested slopes, rarely descending below 2133 meters.
Generally Tragopan inhabit in areas where man cannot easily reach. When disturbed they try to slip off through the bushes but if pressed 4they will fly up, disappearing into thick Fir trees where they are difficult to locate as they perch in the dense growth close to the main stem. Western Tragopan feeds on wild fruit, berries and fresh green leaves.