Population survey and conservation assessment of the globally threatened cheer pheasant (Catreus wallichi) in Jhelum Valley, Azad Kashmir, Pakistan

Muhammad Naeem Awan, Hassan Ali, David Lee

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The cheer pheasant Catreus wallichi is a globally threatened species that inhabits the western Himalayas. Though it is well established that the species is threatened and its numbers declining, updated definitive estimates are lacking, so in 2011, we conducted a survey to assess the density, population size, and threats to the species in Jhelum valley, Azad Kashmir, which holds the largest known population of cheer pheasants in Pakistan. We conducted dawn call count surveys at 17 points clustered in three survey zones of the valley, 11 of which had earlier been used for a 2002-2003 survey of the birds. Over the course of our survey, 113 birds were recorded. Mean density of cheer pheasant in the valley was estimated at 11.8 ± 6.47 pairs per km², with significant differences in terms of both counts and estimated density of cheer were significantly different across the three survey zones, with the highest in the Chinari region and the lowest, that is the area with no recorded sightings of the pheasants, in Gari Doppata. The total breeding population of cheer pheasants is estimated to be some 2 490 pairs, though this does not consider the actual area of occupancy in the study area. On the whole, more cheer pheasants were recorded in this survey than from the same points in 2002-2003, indicating some success in population growth. Unfortunately, increasing human settlement, fires, livestock grazing, hunting, and the collection of non-timber forest products continue to threaten the population of cheer in the Jhelum valley. To mitigate these potential impacts, some degree of site protection should be required for the conservation of cheer pheasants in Pakistan, and more effective monitoring of the species is clearly needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)338-45
Number of pages8
JournalZool. Res.
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2014


  • Animals
  • Conservation of Natural Resources
  • Endangered Species
  • Galliformes
  • Pakistan
  • Population Dynamics
  • Abundance
  • Cheer Pheasant
  • Habitat Analysis
  • Jhelum valley


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