Ground Report | New Delhi: Ladakh declares black-necked; Almost two years after the reorganization of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, the administration of Ladakh has declared the snow leopard as the state animal and the black-necked crane as the state bird for the union territory. A notification in this regard was issued by UT’s Forest, Ecology, and Environment.
Ladakh declares black-necked
“The Hon’ble Lieutenant Governor of the Union Territory of Ladakh is pleased to declare the “Snow Leopard” (Panther unica) and “Black-necked Crane” (Grus nicricolis) as the State Animal and State Bird of the Union Territory of Ladakh, respectively. From the date of issue of the letter, read the notification.
The black-necked stork, which was also the state bird of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, is found only in Ladakh in India.
Classified as a weak, black-necked crane, it is a tall bird with a height of about 1.35 m, a wingspan of about 2–2.5 m, and a weight of about 6–8 kg with a bright red crown on its head. Usually seen in pairs, their courtship dance has inspired the charts – one of the famous folk dances of Ladakh.
The mountainous region of the western and eastern Himalayas is the habitat of snow leopards in India. They are mainly found in Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh.
It is pertinent to mention that Hangul was the state animal of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir which also included Ladakh.
Other contenders for state symbols
The snow leopard and black-necked stork are not the only contenders for state animal and state bird status. Ladakh is a haven for wildlife. “Ladakh urial (endemic to the region), Asian ibex or even Himalayan brown bear can be selected. Lesser-known and rare species such as Pallas’s cat, Eurasian lynx, Tibetan argali, Tibetan antelope or Tibetan gazelle may also be considered.
A wild yak called dong could also be raised. Wild yak and Tibetan antelope are found only in the eastern frontier region of Ladakh called Chang Chenmo. Except for border guarding personnel, no one is allowed in this area without the special permission of the Ministry of Home Affairs,” says Jha.