Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The "Save Hangul" (Kashmir Stag) Project

J&K Kick Starts 'Save Hangul'

Asifa Amin Koul (Kashmir Times)

SRINAGAR: Following the ringing of alarm bells about the sharp decline in the number of Kashmir Stag or Hangul, the state government has kick-started its "Save Hangul" project-a long-term captive breeding programme.

The Rs 1.67 crore project involves construction of an enclosure for the ex-situ breeding or artificial breeding of the highly endangered Hangul. According to state wildlife officials, the departmental plan has got assent by the Central Zoo Authority (CZA), an autonomous statutory body under Ministry of Environment and Forests, involved with conservation of wildlife. The plan is being undertaken by the financial assistance of CZA.

J&K chief wildlife warden, A K Srivastava told "The Kashmir Times", "We have started construction of the enclosure for the first plant in Shikargah Wildlife Conservation Reserve in Tral on an area of about five-acre as per the guidelines of CZA," adding that CZA has already released Rs 42.5 lakhs for the breeding programme.
"Besides the enclosure, the infrastructure to be set up for the breeding plant will include guard huts, watch towers, cabins for officials, pasture improvement, fencing and construction of road for round-the clock monitoring and management of Hanguls," he said.

He said the infrastructure is expected to be ready till April after which both male and female Hanguls not exceeding 10 in number and of the ratio 3:7 will be kept in the enclosure for breeding purposes.

"Once the fawns grow, they will be released into the forests after being fitted with radio collars in order to monitor their activities by the experts," he added.
When contacted Dr B R Sharma, member secretary, Central Zoo Authority, said that the funds to initiate the ex-situ breeding programme in Shikargah wildlife reserve has been released to the J&K wildlife department and depending on the success of the project, the programme will be expanded further.

Following the shocking revelation about the steep drop in their number by Wildlife Institute of India (WII), the state wildlife department is making knee-deep efforts to conserve Hangul-the only surviving breed of Red Deer family, by initiating various Hangul conservation plans. The March 2006 WII consensus estimated their numbers between 117 and 160 as against 2000 plus Hanguls in 1947. In Kashmir they are mainly found in Dachigam National Park.

The Hangul is listed as an endangered species in the Red Data Book of the international Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). The downslide in their number, according to experts, is due to poaching, excessive grazing of livestock, forest fires and increase in the leopard population inside Dachigam Park.

1 comment:

riyaz ahmad said...

i do nt see any improvement among hangul this project really working for hangul..