Wildlife Census Shows Increase In Hangul Population

19 April 2009
The Hindu

Jammu: The population of endangered Hangul deer has registered an increase in the Kashmir Valley, according to the latest wildlife census. The estimated population of the red deer is now between 201 and 234, compared to 117-199 in March 2008, Chief Wildlife Warden, J&K, A K Shrivastava said here on Monday. The male-female ratio and female-fawn ratio have also shown an upward swing in the current census. The census was conducted last month in Dachigam National Park and its adjoining areas like Dara, Nishat, Braine, Cheshma Shahi, Khonmoh, Khrew, Wangath conservation reserves and the adjoining forest areas of Akhal, Najwan, Surfrao, Kulan, Mammar, Ganiwan. The census conducted in collaboration with the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun and Wildlife Trust of India, New Delhi was aimed at identifying threats to the species and formulate a strategy to save them. The increase in population of the deer is being attributed to stricter measures taken to end poaching besides involvement of independent volunteers, researchers, students and NGOs, he said. Hangul or Kashmir stag is an endangered species found in J&K mainly in the Dachigam National Park and its adjoining areas. Conservation of this species assumes great significance as this is the only survivor of the Red Deer group in the Indian subcontinent. In order to conserve Hangul, a Species Recovery Plan has also been prepared by the Wildlife Department through the Wildlife Institute of India for a period of five years and submitted to the Union Ministry of Environment & Forests for approval, Mr. Shrivastava said. Launching of the Species Recovery Plan for Hangul will help not only in conservation of this critically endangered species but also enrich the biodiversity of the habitat where Hangul is found. The project will be implemented with the involvement of the local communities, he said adding the current census data will form a valuable input for the planning and implementation of the Species Recovery Programme. The Department has also started construction of a Conservation Breeding Centre for Hangul at Shikargarh, Tral with financial assistance provided by Central Zoo Authority.