Jammu:The population of world famous Hangul deer, in Dachigam National Park on the outskirts of Srinagar, has declined to 186 in 2015 from 234 in 2009.
In a written reply to a question of CPI (M) MLA MY Tarigami in J&K Legislative Assembly in Jammu on Friday, Minister for Forests Lal Singh said, the Hangul population estimation exercise was conducted in Dachigam National Park and adjoining habitats (in Kashmir valley), and recorded their population as 186 in 2015 as compared to 234 in 2009.
He also said in the 2011 census, the Hangul population was estimated at 218.
The government has formulated a Hangul conservation action plan as the deer has been accorded highest priority in terms of its conservation and protection as it is a state animal of J&K, he added.
The Dachigam National Park, which was earlier divided administratively between two wildlife divisions, has now been made a single administrative unit under the wildlife division (central) to ensure better management in the last known habitat of Hangul, he said.
Demarcation of boundaries of Dachigam National Park and adjacent conservation reserves has been initiated which will strengthen enforcement and protection, he said, adding a conservation breeding centre to breed Hangul in captivity and then replenish its wild populations has been established at Shikargah Tral and the efforts to provide the minimum parent stock to initiate the breeding are underway.
For this, the process of habituation and luring has been initiated at Shikargah, he said.
The minister also said efforts to control and restrict grazing in the upper Dachigam areas in summer season are being made so that the summer grounds of Hangul are made free from anthropogenic pressures.
Efforts to relocate the sheep Breeding Farm from Dachigam as per the standing cabinet decision are also underway which will help protect Hangul from any pathogenic eventuality.
Also, strict regulation of tourist flow into the National Park and total ban on unnecessary and avoidable vehicular movement inside the park is being implemented.
Regular patrol and surveillance by the available frontline staff in sensitive areas is being ensured to thwart poaching, Singh said, adding that Hangul population was regularly being conducted in collaboration with the experts from Dehradun- based Wildlife Institute of India (WII).
Scientific research to understand the ecology and behaviour of Hangul is given top priority and a number of scientific studies under WII, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agriculture Sciences and Technology (SKUAST), Kashmir University are underway, he said.
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.