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Preserving Hangul deer in Kashmir

March 29, 2011 - Srinagar

Authorities in Jammu and Kashmir started a fresh census of the Hangul deer or Kashmir stag in Dachigam National Park, with the aim of protecting and preserving the critically endangered animal.

The census is being carried out in collaboration with the Wild Life Institute of India (WLII) and the wildlife authorities of Dachigam National Park.

Wildlife warden Rashid Naqash of Kashmir's central division said the census could identify threats to the animal and formulate strategies to save it.

"As per the local status, the Hangul population is an endangered one. It is a species of Red Deer, which is only found in this region and in the nearby regions and if population of the Hangul population extinct, then we will lose our state animal. So we are trying to maintain the viable population in Dachigam and also maintain the habitats in the nearby regions and restore Hangul in those regions by natural habitat," said Naqash.

"Census is important to find out population of Hangul in Dachigam and the nearby areas, whether the population is increasing or decreasing. It is important for us to save this animal. And with this census we will get to know that what efforts should be taken to save this animal," said Shah Murtaza, a wildlife researcher.

The census is carried out annually but this year the census area has been extended to the nearby regions and around 350 students also participated in the census.

About 200 Hangul deer are left in the park, a steep decline from 3,000 in the 1940s.

The Hangul is the only surviving species of the red deer family of Europe in the sub-continent.


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