Wildlife authorities initiate census on endangered Hangul deer in Kashmir

March 23rd, 2009 - 5:47 pm ICT by ANI  

By Parvez butt
Srinagar, Mar 23 (ANI): Wildlife authorities in Kashmir have initiated a census on the Hangul deer, one of the endangered species, to identify threats to the species and formulate a strategy to save them.
The Hangul is characterized by impressive, spreading antlers of the adult male and its rich brownish red coat. Female Hanguls don”t have horns.
The authorities at the state’’s Dachigam National Park in collaboration with Wild Life Institute of India (WLII) are conducting the census, and though this is an annual affair, this time the area of the census has been extended to areas near Dachigam as well.
A total of 25 teams have been constituted each with 5-6 volunteers, who will be conducting the survey and report back the sightings to the authorities.
The authorities said this year’’s field survey, which is conducted before the actual census, has been encouraging as the number of female-fawn ratio is better as compared to last year.
“In last year’’s census the number of the Hanguls had ranged from 117 to 199 and the mean population was 160. This time, the field surveys, which are conducted before the actual census is quite encouraging. The female-fawn ratio of this time is better that that of last time which is a very encouraging sign,” said Rashid Naqash, Wild Life Warden, Dachigam National Park.
“We have also tried to identify all the problems faced by the Hanguls in their habitats and to provide a solution for the scientific management for those problems,” he added.
The Hangul is listed as an endangered species in the Red Data Book of the international Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.
According to experts, the State had around 5,000 Hanguls at the beginning of the 20th century. Their number was reduced to about 150 by 1970 due to habitat destruction, overgrazing by domestic livestock and poaching.
Efforts by the state authorities and WWF raised their number to 900 Hanguls at Dachigam in 1989.
However, according to a census carried out in 2006, Hangul’’s population had again gone down to mere 115 in the past few years. (ANI)

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