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Climate change forces Himalayan herders to search for pasture

The Himalayan Gaddi community of pastoralists has long lived from the land. But with rising temperatures pushing them higher up into mountains in search of grazing pastures, their way of life is under threat.

It is fall in the Dhaulagiri range in the far north of India. Pine tree forests abound in this remote stretch of the Himalayas , where serpentine roads cling to steep mountainsides.

But something isn't right in the picturesque hamlet of Kandral, inhabited by the semi-nomadic Gaddi community. The air should be filled with bleating and the sound of bells. Instead, there is silence.

Ranjit Singh and four other shepherds have left their flocks with relatives high up in the mountains so they can come down to celebrate the annual festival of Dham.

In the past, they would have brought their animals with them and stayed for longer before descending to the foothills in the winter.

"This used to be a time when our livestock would stay with us and eat the grass we've collected for them while we shear wool and sell it," says Singh. But the  changing climate  in this part of the mid-Himalayas has undone the pattern of his existence.

The western Himalaya

by Oui on Fri Nov 12th, 2021 at 10:09:46 PM EST

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