The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is all set to declare the Kashmiri Red Stag, also known as Hangul, a Critically Endangered species.
As per Bombay Natural History Society, nearly 3000 to 5000 Hanguls existed around the 1940s. At present, only about 150 of them survive in the Greater Dachigam Landscape of 1000 square kilometeres. Even then, IUCN had categorised it as that of Least Concern by clubbing with European and other 'red deer' species of the world.
About Kashmir's Red Stag
• The Kashmir Stag is a subspecies of elk native to India.
• It is found in dense riverine forests in the high valleys and mountains of the Kashmir Valley and northern Chamba district in Himachal Pradesh.
• In Kashmir, it's found in the Dachigam National Park where it receives protection but elsewhere it is more at risk.
• In the 1940s, the population was between 3000 and 5000 individuals. However, since then, the habitat destruction, over-grazing by domestic livestock and poaching have greatly reduced that dramatically.
• Earlier believed to be a subspecies of red deer, a number of mitochondrial DNA genetic studies have revealed that the Hangul is part of the Asian clade of the elk and has not been evaluated by IUCN.
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