In a first: Wildlife Deptt lens captures 10 majestic Hanguls in Shikargah Tral

Srinagar, June 24: In a first, Wildlife Department captures 10 majestic Hanguls in camera in Shikargah wildlife sanctuary of Tral area of South Kashmir.
Wildlife Warden Shopian Intesar Suhail said it is for the first time there is photographic proof of Hanguls in the area.
“Actually we were getting reports of presence of Hanguls in the Shikargah area whenever we conducted census. Also Male Hanguls shed their antlers in March. Some of these antlers go unreported also who are collected by the people,” he said.
“We had installed two cameras at key locations at water hole-which is on top of Shikargah. These cameras work on movement sensors. As soon as someone passes there, it automatically clicks pictures. We got 9 females in one frame and one male in different frame on other day from same camera.”
On being asked how this sighting is different, “Field staff used to sight Hanguls in the region. But this is for first time we have photographic evidence,”
Hangul, cervus elaphus hanglu, is a critically endangered species found mainly in the Dachigam National Park and its adjoining areas in Kashmir. The male Hangul is characterized by the antlers and brownish red coat. The female Hangul does not have horns. It is the only survivor of the Red Deer group in the Indian sub-continent and its population has been on a decline over the years.
Last year, Government had declared the Tral Wildlife Sanctuary as a protected wildlife corridor for the endangered Kashmir Stag- Hungul. The sanctuary, spread over an area of 154.15 square kilometers, falls in the Pulwama district of south Kashmir and has come into being by merging Changed, Panyar-Shikargah and Khiram wildlife conservation reserves and few other forest compartments of Awantipora forest division.
The sanctuary functions as a protected wildlife corridor for the Hangul population present down south in Shikargah-Panyer and Khiram conservation reserves with the main population in Dachigam National park in the north, an official said.
“The sanctuary helps in creating a buffer around the Dachigam National Park and Overa-Aru wildlife sanctuary leading to a secure, suitable and viable habitat for the last remnant Hangul population,” he added.
The area has the distinction of harbouring the Hangul population that exists outside Dachigam National Park in Srinagar. Besides, 15 species of mammals, including some rare ones are also found within the limits of the sanctuary.
According to the 2019 census of the endangered Hangul has revealed alarming decrease in the animal’s population, with the lowest ever male-female and fawn-female ratios.
The census was conducted by the State Department of Wildlife Protection. The census, however, shows marginal increase in Hangul population from 214 in 2017 to 237 in 2019.
As per the data, there were 15.5 males per 100 females and 7.5 fawns per 100 females. The male-female and fawn-female ratios are quite alarming as these ratios are lower than ever.
In a first, Wildlife Department captures 10 majestic Hanguls in camera in Shikargah wildlife sanctuary of Tral area of South Kashmir.
Wildlife Warden Shopian Intesar Suhail said it is for the first time there is photographic proof of Hanguls in the area.
“Actually we were getting reports of presence of Hanguls in the Shikargah area whenever we conducted census. Also Male Hanguls shed their antlers in March. Some of these antlers go unreported also who are collected by the people,” he said.
“We had installed two cameras at key locations at water hole-which is on top of Shikargah. These cameras work on movement sensors. As soon as someone passes there, it automatically clicks pictures. We got 9 females in one frame and one male in different frame on other day from same camera.”
On being asked how this sighting is different, “Field staff used to sight Hanguls in the region. But this is for first time we have photographic evidence,”
Hangul, cervus elaphus hanglu, is a critically endangered species found mainly in the Dachigam National Park and its adjoining areas in Kashmir. The male Hangul is characterized by the antlers and brownish red coat. The female Hangul does not have horns. It is the only survivor of the Red Deer group in the Indian sub-continent and its population has been on a decline over the years.
Last year, Government had declared the Tral Wildlife Sanctuary as a protected wildlife corridor for the endangered Kashmir Stag- Hungul. The sanctuary, spread over an area of 154.15 square kilometers, falls in the Pulwama district of south Kashmir and has come into being by merging Changed, Panyar-Shikargah and Khiram wildlife conservation reserves and few other forest compartments of Awantipora forest division.
The sanctuary functions as a protected wildlife corridor for the Hangul population present down south in Shikargah-Panyer and Khiram conservation reserves with the main population in Dachigam National park in the north, an official said.
“The sanctuary helps in creating a buffer around the Dachigam National Park and Overa-Aru wildlife sanctuary leading to a secure, suitable and viable habitat for the last remnant Hangul population,” he added.
The area has the distinction of harbouring the Hangul population that exists outside Dachigam National Park in Srinagar. Besides, 15 species of mammals, including some rare ones are also found within the limits of the sanctuary.
According to the 2019 census of the endangered Hangul has revealed alarming decrease in the animal’s population, with the lowest ever male-female and fawn-female ratios.
The census was conducted by the State Department of Wildlife Protection. The census, however, shows marginal increase in Hangul population from 214 in 2017 to 237 in 2019.
As per the data, there were 15.5 males per 100 females and 7.5 fawns per 100 females. The male-female and fawn-female ratios are quite alarming as these ratios are lower than ever. (KNS)

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