In an encouraging sign, a herd of 6-8 Hanguls (Kashmir Stag) has been sighted in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district. Sources said that the locals spotted the group recently in the forest area of Naranag in Kangan, Ganderbal.
“After sighting 14 Hangul caught on camera trap from Tral in south Kashmir early this year, we have received yet another good news. A group of Hangul numbering about 6 to 8 has been sighted by locals opposite Naranag. Recently a friend has managed to click a snap,” wrote director industries Mahmood Shah on twitter.
Shah also posted a picture of the Hanguls spotted in Naranag.
Hangul, cervus elaphus hanglu, is a critically endangered species found mainly in the Dachigam National Park and its adjoining areas in Kashmir.
While the male Hangul is characterized by the antlers and brownish red coat, the female does not have horns.
Kashmir Hangul is the only survivor of the Red Deer group in the Indian subcontinent and its population has been on decline over the years.
Latest census of the endangered Kashmir stag conducted in 2019 revealed alarming decrease in its population structure, with lowest ever male-female and fawn-female ratios.
The census was conducted by State Department of Wildlife Protection. The census however shows marginal increase in Hangul population from 214 in 2017 to 237 in 2019.
Regional wildlife warden Kashmir, Rashid Naqash told Greater Kashmir that “Naranag (Wangath) area is a protected area and remains the oldest part of the Dachigam-Wangath-Gurez Tulail corridor.” He said they have received information about the moment of the Hangul in Wangath wildlife conservation area.
He said: “Till a few decades ago, Dachigam-Wangath-Tulail was the traditional summer corridor of the Hangul. However, fragmentation and increased human activity along the corridor hindered the movement of Hangul.”