International conference for conservation of Kashmir stag held in Srinagar

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Srinagar, Oct 11(ANI): Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Saturday inaugurated an international conference for the conservation of Hangul, the critically endangered Kashmir stag, in Srinagar.

The conference is hosted by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) in collaboration with Wildlife Institute of India and Wildlife Protection Department of Jammu and Kashmir.

The international conference is aimed to bring together the deer experts and conservationists all over the world to discus the latest research findings on the effective management and conservation aspects of the endangered deer species in general and Hangul in particular.

"The aim of this conference is that we want to adopt management and conservation techniques being used around the world for red deer species whose sub species is Hangul, the Kashmiri deer," said Khurshid Ahmad, Conservator with the Wildlife Protection Wing of the Forest Department.

Meanwhile, the Director of WWF (Central Asian Programme), Olgo Perelodova, said that wildlife conservation is the main concern of the organization and how it was necessary to highlight the threat faced by the endangered species in the State.

"Such a conference is held in Kashmir because it shows how highly the issues of wildlife conservation are on top of the priorities for the development of the Kashmir. And I think that exchange of experience of national experts or national scientists and involvement of international expertise is very useful and when applied for practical work it will help to save the species," Olgo Perelodova said.

The Hangul or Kashmir stag (Cervus Elaphus Hanglu) a sub-species of European Red Deer is a critically endangered deer, as its population has declined from an estimated 2000 in 1947 to mere 170 to 200 in recent years, due to poaching, excessive grazing of livestock and forest fires.

It is unique to Kashmir and the last genetically viable Hangul population of the world is at present restricted to Dachigam Park in Srinagar. (ANI)

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