JAMMU: Terming the status of Hangul as ‘critical’, the Jammu and Kashmir government on Monday informed the legislative assembly that the population of Hangul [Kashmir stag ] has declined to 186 as per the latest 2015 census.
The minister for Forest, Environment and Ecology Choudhary Lal Singh informed the House that the state animal Hangul, a subspecies of European Red Deer, was threatened by habitat destruction, and overgrazing by domestic livestock.
Hangul is found only in Kashmir at Dachi Gam National Park.
‘’Its species was around 5000 in the beginning of 20th century, unfortunately they were threatened due to habitatdestruction, overgrazing by domestic livestock and poaching, as a result number was reduced to 150 in 1970,’’ he said and added that there is lot of disturbance to the Hangul during rutting period in OAK patch that is largely occupied a government sheep breading farm.
He said that the dogs in the farm also pose great threat to new born Hangul fawns in the area; as a result the fawn female ratio and the female male ratio have also gone down according to the study.
‘’The existence of sheep breading farm in the Dachigam National park has remained a matter of serious concern,’’ he said and added in a recent meeting of the State Board held on 22 November 2016 under the chairmanship of its minister, it was decided that the sheep breading farm will be shifted from Dachigam national park.
Briefing about the ground positions of long term conservation of Hangul, he said that it will require active involvement of local communities, landscape level conservation, capacity building of staff, research, adaptive management of the project, developing grazing grounds, breading centre both in –situ and ex-situ management policies along the promotion of conservation and education awareness.