‘Relocate sheep breeding farm from Dachigam’
Man-made interventions affect Hangul: Experts
Srinagar, Apr 14: Environmentalists on Saturday urged the State Government to relocate the sheep breeding farm and other manmade installations from Dachigam National Park to save endemic Kashmiri stag or Hangul from extinction.
During an event organized by the Centre for Environmental Law under the aegis of Youth Parliament of J&K, at Nature Interpretation Centre, Dachigam National Park at Harwan here, most of the participants including environmentalists favoured shifting of the Sheep Breeding Farm from Dachigam.
Scientifically known as Cervus elaphus hanglu, Hangul is the only surviving race of the Red Deer family of Europe in the sub-continent. The animal is battling for its survival in its last bastion—the Dachigam National Park located on foothills of Zabarwan range on the outskirts of Srinagar.
The event was organized in the backdrop of Government’s proposal to shift the Sheep Breeding Farm. On the occasion, experts maintained that the Sheep Breeding Farm in lower Dachigam poses an immediate threat to long-term survival of hangul population.
“Sheep and goat belonging to this farm graze in alpine meadows of upper Dachigam which is an ideal summer habitat for hangul. This creates competition for food between deer and sheep. Since both animals are herbivorous, this can lead to disease transmission to hangul as there is confirmed evidence of transmission of John’s disease to hangul in Dachigam,” said Dr Mudasir Ali, a young research scholar, while participating in the debate.
Prominent environmental activist, BL Parimoo maintained that the Hangul population had been dwindling rapidly over the years due to various intrusions. “Survival story of hangul is filled with conflicts and controversies. It has fought the protracted armed conflict, poaching, grazing, cement factories, VVIP guest houses and bunkers of security forces,” Parimoo asserted.
“Perilous state of affairs which this remnant hangul population is facing in its own natural range has forced the species to come face to face with its extinction. Ironically, the wildlife department has failed to demarcate the Dachigam Park till date,” Parimoo said.
Former Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, (PCCF), Abdul Rashid Wani said there had been a large-scale biotic interference in the summer hangul habitats of Upper Dachigam in the form of overgrazing and habitat degeneration by sheep and goats of the Breeding Farm.
“Also the livestock of local and nomadic (Bakerwal) shepherds and assorted biotic disturbance by people including staff of the sheep breeding farm has resulted in heavy habitat degradation besides hardening and erosion of the herb rich grounds of the hangul’s summer habitats. So the grazing should be stopped immediately to stop further damage,” he said.
Mehmood Shah, a senior official of the Tourism department said hangul has changed its summer movement patterns to unknown habitations in the adjoining less protected and reserve forest areas. “This is a matter of great concern for the long term conservation of hangul and its habitat. It is therefore recommended that a strict ban must be imposed on the illegal grazing in Upper Dachigam so as to ensure revival of the erstwhile ideal habitant and subsequent recovery of hangul to the habitations of Upper Dachigam,” he added.
The event was supported by World Wildlife Fund, Wildlife Trust India, sanctuary Asia, Spectrum Ads and TCI Max. On the occasion, the Executive Director of CEL Nadeem Qadri said next Save Hangul Conference will be held at Kashmir University soon.
Among others Professor, CORD, University of Kashmir Dr G A Bhat, Wildlife Warden, Central Division, Imtiyaz Lone, Deputy Director Sheep Husbandry Department, Dr Rafiq A Shah, Director CEL, Altaf Mehraj, Administrator YPJK, Basharat Ali, participated in the function.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 14 Apr 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 14 Apr 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 15 Apr 2012 00:00:00 IST
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