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Monday, August 6 • 4:30pm - Friday, August 10 •12:00pm
Poster: Challenges and Opportunities to Conserve the Critically Endangered Hangul Cervus hanglu hanglu

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AUTHORS: Riyaz Ahmad, Rahul Kaul, Mansoor Nabi Sofi, and Mayukh Chatterjee – Wildlife Trust of India

ABSTRACT: Kashmir Stag or Hangul Cervus hanglu hanglu is endemic to Kashmir and the Dachigam NP Park holds the only viable population currently. It was however, once distributed widely across the mountains of Kashmir is now reported only from certain pockets of the landscape1. The hangul was historically known to occur across an arc, 65 miles in width; north and east of the Jhelum and lower Chenab Rivers, from Shalurah in the north to Ramnagar in the south2,3. While hangul conservation has traditionally been centered around Dachigam National Park (DNP), historically, there were significant populations occurring outside the DNP. Over the last few decades, much of this has not been monitored and thus, Dachigam has been at the centre of hangul conservation. The population of hangul has been dwindling in Dachigam due to a variety of reasons which have not been addressed thus far. It is therefore imperative to revisit the remnant satellite populations of the species so that these could be conserved. This will create alternate sites where future conservation efforts may be directed and as a result increase the effective distribution range of the species.

We initiated a study to revisit the historical sites of hangul to assess its current status through restoring the habitats reconnect these populations. We collected secondary information from literature, hunters, locals, migratory herders and security forces present in and around these hangul sites. This was followed by the field surveys in the identified potential sites. We also conducted socio-economic surveys in the identified sites to assess the anthropogenic pressure on the habitats.We visited 33 sites in the North, South and Central Kashmir and interviewed local people, hunters, herders and security forces who patrol the area. On the basis of the interviews and indirect evidences, we could gather information about the presence of hangul in 9 sites, some used exclusively in winter and others during summer. Some sites harboured hangul all through the year. We confirmed the possibility of at least two discrete populations of hangul, besides the ones already known already known (Dachigam National Park and its vicinity, Khrew, Khunmon, Shikargah, Overa-Aru). One is the Wangat-Naranag-Telail catchment area and the other is the Chandeji-Diver-Guraiz population. Although, evidences of hangul presence have also been encountered from two other catchments but mostly through secondary accounts and these areas will therefore be surveyed again to assess their potential for sustained hangul conservation.

Besides hangul, all the areas surveyed, especially Naranag-Wanghat, Daksum and Thajwas-Baltal catchments also revealed evidences of other mammals, and also a good forest cover, thus rendering the areas as potentially good habitat for hangul also. Both the catchments are however are heavily pressurized due to grazing of livestock and extensive hunting, and therefore may be in greater need of more efficient protection and awareness initiatives. This information was incorporated in the current Hangul Conservation Action Plan to save Hangul and its habitat at a landscape level.

459211 pdf

Monday August 6, 2018 4:30pm - Friday August 10, 2018 12:00pm MDT
Assembly Hall Foyer

Attendees (2)