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Rearing Bonpala sheep in the lower altitude of mid Himalayan Region in Sikkim under intensive system

Nazrul Haque , Saroj Toppo and H. Rahman

ICAR Research Complex for NEH Region, Sikkim Centre, Tadong, Gangtok - 737 102, Sikkim, India


            Eight ewes and one ram of Bonpala breed were maintained at the farm of ICAR Research Complex for NEH Region, Sikkim Centre, Tadong, Gangtok to explore the suitability of these animals rearing in lower elevation (4500 feet) in mid-Himalayan region under intensive system. The animals were maintained from April 2007 to October 2008 for 19 months. The animals were offered concentrate mixture (crushed maize 50%, mustered cake 30%, wheat bran 17%, mineral mixture 2% and common salt 1%) @ 1% of their body weight along with ad libitum green fodders which were available in different seasons. No special arrangements were made for lambs for feeding creep mixture, keeping in view to follow similar feeding practices as followed in the villages. The body length, height at withers, heart girth, paunch girth, horn length, horn circumference, length of ear and tail and body weight of ewe was 65.75 ± 1.67 cm, 68.50 ± 1.43 cm, 86.50 ± 1.34 cm, 101.25 ± 2.33 cm, 11.06 ± 1.97 cm, 10.00 ± 0.71 cm, 7.38 ± 0.86 cm, 23.12 ±0.58 cm and 37.31 ± 1.65 kg and that of ram was 74 cm, 83 cm 93cm, 106 cm, 60 cm, 28 cm, 05 cm, 27 cm and 52.5 kg, respectively.            During the experimental period, prolificacy (number of lambs born per female per lambing) was 1. Five lambing incidence was observed and other three ewes were pregnant. Maximum number (75%) of mating was observed during summer season (April to July). Rest was observed during the winter season (December to January). The gestation length was 152.4 ± 3.75 days. Average birth weight and average daily gain (ADG) up to 11 months of age of lambs was 3.6 ± 3.87 kg and 59.3 ± 3.87 g, respectively. It is conclude that Bonpala sheep might be reared successfully in the mid-Himalayan region at an elevation of 4500 feet under intensive system.


Bonpala sheep is an indigenous animal of Sikkim. It is also available in western part of Bhutan and eastern part of Nepal (Acharya, 1982). The sheep is named after, as per the mode in which it is reared - “Bonpala” which means reared in the forest (Bon means forest, Pala means reared). On the other hand the same animal when reared in the homestead condition is called Gharpala (Ghar mean home).

            Bonpala is a migratory dual purpose medium sized animal with compact body covered with coarse wool. Sheep population in Sikkim in 1992 was 16268 (Census Report, 1992). However, it reached to 5746 in 2003 (census Report, 2003) with a decline of 64.67%. Traditionally sheep is reared by Gurung community. It is their main source of livelihood. Much of the migratory tract of Bonpala sheep falls under Reserve forest areas. The flock used to migrate to alpine regions during warmer months and descends to lower altitudes with the onset of winter. However, government of Sikkim imposed a ban on grazing of animals in the Reserve Forest, Plantation and Water Source areas with a view to encourage regeneration of forest resources, develop degraded lands and augment rural water supplies. It resulted with considerable reduction ion the grazing area in the subtropical area and to a limited extent in the temperate and alpine areas. It might have a great impact on sheep rearing and on the livelihood of Gurung community, resulted with a drastic reduction of sheep population from 1992 to 2003. If the trend continues this valuable gene pool will be extinct very soon. With a view to preserve this gene pool an experiment was conducted to explore the suitability of this animal rearing in lower elevation in mid-Himalayan region under intensive system.



   Amongst the many floral treaties of Sikkim Himalaya one of the earliest ones may be found over the genus Rhododendron (Gk. rhodo = red, dendrons = tree ).  



Rarity Status
L.K Rai Notes


  Orchid known for their brilliance in colors, unusual shapes attractive growth habits, variety in fragrance and exquisite beauty can attract any nature lovers.





The Genus



Medicinal Plant

Sikkim with its total geographical area of 7,096 sq km is bestowed with a huge diversity of flora and fauna.


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