The Hangul Deer
The Hangul Deer or Kashmiri stag is an endangered species of red deer. The Hangul is one of the most famous animals of Jammu & Kashmir. It inhabits the thick forests of Jammu & Kashmir. In the past, Jammu & Kashmir had a large and vibrant population of Hangul Deer. But environmental pressures caused by hunting and loss of habitat from deforestation and dam projects has significantly curbed the wild population of Hangul Deer. Jammu & Kashmir does have one reserve and conservation area for Hangul Deer; the Dachigam National Park, also home to a diversity of wildlife.
Like other environmental problems in Jammu & Kashmir, the armed conflict of the last 8 years has also caused terrible pressures on the wild Hangul Deer population. Illegal hunting and poaching has increased during the conflict. Between 1989 and 1991, at least 400 Kashmiri stag have been reported to have been killed. The Hangul Deer is now only spotted in the northern regions and its population is reduced severely. The isolated Gurez Valley is known to still have a Hangul Deer population in the wild, but a proposed dam project places this population under threat.
K.E.W.A. advocates that strict conservation measures be put in place in Jammu & Kashmir. Habitat protection, captive breeding, stiff penalties for poachers, and public education must be undertaken to save the Hangul Deer.
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