Workshop to save endangered stag organised in Srinagar

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Srinagar, Mar 29 (ANI): Wildlife authorities of Jammu and Kashmir have organized a workshop to formulate strategies for saving the endangered Hangul or Kashmir Stag, which is nearing extinction.

The workshop was held on Sunday (March 28) in Dachigam National Park, 25 kilometres from Srinagar, which was attended by researchers, scientists and locals of Dachigam. Sathya Kumar, a scientist from Wildlife Institute of India said that if immediate measures were not taken to increase the population of the Hangul, then would rapidly to become extinct.

"Since 2004, the population of Hangul has remained 200 to 240. But this is a critical level; if we are not able to save it then there are chances of its population crashing," said Kumar.

Irshad Khan, Pricipal Chief Conservator of Forests and Wildlife, said that constant efforts are being made to save the species, which include opening up of breeding centres across the Valley and development of the Hangul habitats.

"We are opening up breeding centres in Shikargarh and Wangad so as to help them breed and increase their population. The central zoo authorities are also instructing us on the breeding centres. We do have the financial assistance but we need the cooperation of the people too," said Khan.

He added that the central government has sanctioned 220 million rupees for the Hangul Conservation Plan, out of which nine million have already been utilized for the same.ccording to experts the state had around 5,000 Hanguls at the beginning of the 20th century. Their number was reduced to about 150 by 1970 due to habitat destruction, overgrazing by domestic livestock, and poaching.

Environmentalists cite deforestation, environmental changes, as reasons for decrease in their numbers. Poaching and killing by predators is also responsible for their dwindling numbers. (ANI)

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