Why in news:
In April 2018, the ministry of Environment and Forests told the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that the Uttarakhand government was responsible for management and protection of wildlife in the hill state, including the diseased blue sheep in Gangotri National Park.
IUCN Red list categorizes Himalayan Blue sheep as "Least Concerned".
They are found in Bhutan, China, northern India, norther Myanmar, Nepal and northern Pakistan. Some sources have stated the species exists in Tajikistan (Grubb 2005), but recent evidence for this is lacking.
Blue Sheep are known to occur in the Govind Pashu Vihar Wildlife Sanctuary and Nanda Devi National Park, Gangotri National Park and near Badrinath (Uttar Pradesh), on the slopes of the Khangchendzonga massif (Sikkim), and in eastern Arunachal Pradesh.
Blue Sheep occupy a variety of habitats across the region. Blue Sheep inhabit open grassy slopes in high mountains from 2,500-5,500 m asl. They are usually found near cliffs and similar escape cover, but generally avoid entering forested areas.
They are very tolerant of environmental extremes from desert mountains in searing heat to windy and cold slopes
They feed on grass and alpine herbs and lichens and live in small to rather large herds, alternately resting and feeding on steep grassy slopes of alpine meadows.
Primary predator is Snow Leopard.
Use and Trade: This species is hunted for food.
The species has been found to be suffering from some infectious disease which is leading to their eyes bleeding and popping out of their sockets.
This disease is alleged to spread to humans.