Musk deer is the state animal of Uttarakhand. The name of this deer in Hindi is Kusturi Mirg. Musk deer belongs to the family Moschidae and is more primitive than true deer (cervids) because of the reason that they lack antlers and facial glands. These deer are found mainly in Himalayan region and have been extinct in Europe where these existed in past.
The size of musk deer varies from 80 to 100 cm long and 50 to 70 cm shoulder high. The weight is in between 7 to 17 kg. They feed upon grasses, moss, twigs, shoots, lichens etc. The body of musk deer has adapted to the mountain conditions with small and stocky built. The front legs are short whereas the hind are long. The musk gland is found only in adult males and its secretion is to attract the mates. These deer have been a lucrative commercial object for the hunters because of the scent glands. It’s a criminal offence to hunt a deer.
The deer inhabits in the dense forest of Deodar, fir trees. The altitude range may vary from 2300 to 4300 mtr. In Uttarakhand, the Kedarnath musk deer sanctuary was established to save the extinction of this species of deer. It is very unfortunate that a beautiful animal like this is on the verge of extinction. The musk deer is in the list of endangered species released in 1952. The wildlife preservation act 1972 was enacted in order to save the omission of the rare species like musk deer. The musk deer are hunted due to the gland which is very costly in the market. The hunters are still hunting this deer in order to get money even after knowing the fact that the species are only in numbers. The number of musk deer is very less may be in odd hundreds which is less than tigers.