Kashmir’s endangered stag population on the rise

April 24th, 2009 - 10:49 am ICT by IANS  

Jammu, April 24 (IANS) There is good news from Jammu and Kashmir - an increase in the population of the endangered stag called hangul.
According to a census conducted by the state wildlife department, the estimated population is now between 201 and 234, compared to 117 and 199 in March 2008.

The census has been conducted in collaboration with the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, and the Wildlife Trust of India, New Delhi.

Hangul is an endangered species of deer found in Jammu and Kashmir, mainly in the Dachigam National Park and adjoining areas.

The census was initiated to identify threats to the species and formulate a strategy to save them. The hangul is characterised by impressive spreading antlers of the adult male and its rich brownish red coat. Female hangul do not have antlers.

The estimated population is now between 201 and 234, compared to 117 and 199 in March 2008. The male-female ratio and female-fawn ratio have also shown an upward swing in the current census, according to an official statement.

“The increase in population is being attributed to the effective measures which include protection and control on poaching taken by the department, besides the involvement of independent volunteers, researchers, students and NGOs,” the statement said.

Conservation of this species assumes great significance as this is the only survivor of the red deer group in the Indian subcontinent. The species is placed under Schedule I in the Jammu and Kashmir Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1978, and the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. It is also listed in on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES).

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