Srinagar: The state animal of Jammu and Kashmir, the Kashmir stag or the Hangul, the endangered sub-species of red deer, according to a latest census has found its numbers declining, media reports quoting officials said.
The number of Hangul, prized for its magnificent antlers, is “lower than 200”. In the previous survey conducted by the Wildlife Department in 2011, the count was 218. The next census is expected to take place in February next year, tribuneindia reported.
The latest census, conducted in 2015 and its detailed report likely to be released, has found a “downward population trend” of Hangul in the region, an official of the Wildlife Department said.
“The male-female ratio and female fawn ratio, which is important for the population to grow, is declining,” the official said. The skewed male-female and fawn female ratios have been described as “alarming” by wildlife experts.
Hangul, which is at present marked as endangered in the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List, have a secure refuge in Kashmir region inside the Dachigam National Park, located on the eastern edge of Srinagar city. The park is spread over 141 sq km of mountains and grasslands.
Tahir Ahmad Shawl, Wildlife Warden for central Kashmir, said, “We have taken a lot of steps for their conservation. The pressure from grazing has been significantly reduced and they have been diverted to other grazing grounds (outside the Dachigam park),” Shawl said. “We are hopeful that these steps will prove positive,” he said.