Baramulla: Locals in Bahki Halhar village in Handwara ‘rescued’ a rare musk deer commonly known as Kustoor that had strayed into the village due to heavy snowfall. The wild animal was later handed over to the police and officials of the wildlife protection department.
An official of the wildlife department said the recent heavy snowfall and intense cold in upper reaches has caused shortage of food in the forest areas forcing wild animals to descend to plains in search of food.
“As I spotted the wild animal wandering in my courtyard I alerted my father and we together rescued the wild animal. We couldn’t recognize the animal but the wildlife officials told us that it was musk deer,” said Majid Hussain Sheikh, a local youth from Bahki Hakhar hamlet.
“We informed police and wildlife authorities about the recovery of the wild animal and handed it over to the wildlife department in presence of police,” added Majid.
Wildlife Warden, north Kashmir Mohammed Maqbool Baba said, “Following the recent snowfall wild animals started straying towards human habitation because of shortage of food. We have rescued the musk deer from a village in Handwara which is highly endangered and found in the upper reaches of Himalayas.”
He said that that the musk deer was immediately shifted to Pahalgam and will be freed in Pahalgam zoo where department has rehabilitated several species of the wild animals.
Baba informed that the musk deer is mainly killed for obtaining a strong smelling secretion, musk, produced by the glands of the animal. The musk is used in perfumes and many traditional medicines, making it one of the most valuable and costly products in the international market. A gram of musk costs between two to three dollars in international market, meaning that the pod of a single stag can easily fetch 70 dollars. The killing of the animal is banned under wildlife act.
The department has hailed family for timely action and urged people to act swiftly for timely action to rescue wild animals which come down to human habitations.