IN A FIRST,JK TO START CAPTIVE BREEDING OF ENDANGERED HANGUL

Program Likely To Start This Season

MUDDASIR ALI

Srinagar, Nov 8: Jammu and Kashmir wildlife authorities have started a program for captive breeding of the endangered Hangul, the only surviving species of the Red Deer family in the sub-continent, in a bid to augment the dwindling numbers of the animal.
Officials said Hangul Conservation Breeding Center established at Shikargah Tral in Pulwama District last year would be made operational this season. The breeding season of Hangul starts in October.
The multi-crore rupees project funded by Central Zoo Authority of India is aimed at increasing the population of Kashmir Stag commonly known as Hangul, which is only found in Kashmir.
“We are hopeful to get mature animals (male and female) to start the breeding program,” said wildlife warden Shopian/Pulwama, Suhail Intesar. “A good snowfall will help us in the program as ‘founder’ animal found in the wild climb down from high altitudes during the winter.”
At least two male and three female animals are required to start the captive breeding program.
An official said the “mission” has to be carried out in a controlled manner. “It is very difficult to get the mature animal and we will have to be extra cautious to prevent any mortality during their capture which is a common phenomenon,” the official said.
A census last year revealed that there are 218 Hanguls in Dachigam and its adjoining areas- an increase of 43 animals compared to last survey in 2009. An official at wildlife department said the captive breeding would be long drawn and its monitoring would require at least 10 years.
The State wildlife authorities are likely to rope in experts from Wildlife Authority of India to help capture the animal. “It has to be monitored how the animal behaves in captivity, then only the focus will shift on the breeding,” the official said.
“It will also require us to monitor how many years it will take for a new fawn to get acclimatized to new environment before it is released in the wild,” the official said.
Intesar said it is the first initiative of its kind in the sub-continent where an attempt would be made to increase population of Hangul under captive program.
He said a dispensary has been set up at the Hangul Conservation Breeding Center and a veterinarian would be deputed there to monitor the program. The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has already approved Rs 22 crore Species Recovery Plan for Hangul for a period of five years under Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats program.
The Hangul with a brownish coat and two antlers is listed as an endangered species in the Red Data Book of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Species.
Poached for its meat, antlers and skin, the Hangul numbers have been on the decline for past many decades.
From around 3,000, the figure dropped to 900 in 1989 which dwindled to near about 200 a few years back.
The animal is struggling for survival in the slopes of Dachigam National Park here- the last surviving habitat of Hangul.

Lastupdate on : Thu, 8 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 8 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 9 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST




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