J-K wildlife officials arrange food for Hangul

Srinagar, Jan.3 (ANI): The wildlife officials at the Dachigam National Park, have made special arrangements for the endangered 'Hangul' deer, as the Kashmir Valley is experiencing heavy snowfall.

The vegetation and soil on which these deer survive are covered under thick snow, making it difficult for the animal to graze.

"The herbs and other vegetables which these animals eat are covered under snow during this season. We keep these supplementary feed and mineral cakes, as this endangered species finds it difficult to find food during this lean period," said Rashid Naqash, a wildlife warden, the Dachigam National Park.

Presently, around 200 hangul deers are surviving in the park from 3,000 in the 1940s.

Forest officials collect dry willows and other herbs that are placed at strategic spots for the deers to descend down and feed.

Cakes made of special salts and minerals are also scattered in the forests, as snow makes it impossible for the animal to get its supplement of salts from the soil.

"These wild animals they get the required salts from the soil but during snowfall the whole region is covered with snow. So, we have to take special care that they receive adequate amount of salt," said Nazir Ahmad, a forest guard.

"For the last couple of years, we have brought special kind of salt that has over 20 other minerals and vitamins. We have placed these salt cakes in a large area for the deer," he added.

The Hangul is the only surviving species of the red deer family of Europe in the sub-continent.

Hangul stags are prized for their magnificent heads. By Parvez Butt (ANI)

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