The lawmakers and the wildlife experts fear that the forests of Uttarakhand and Nepal – China border have become hunting ground for musk – bearing stag . Musk is a strong scented secretion glands of male musk deer, normally used for perfume and medicinal use in China and its neighbours. This very thing makes the deer vulnerable to hunters and poachers due to its demand in the international market. The population of the musk deer in Uttarakhand was 274 in 2003 and 279 in 2005. The last census was taken in the year 2008, when the count was 284 as per the official record. There are two musk deer sanctuaries in Uttarakhand – Askot (Pithoragarh district) and Kedarnath (in Chamoli and Rudraprayag district). There are no statistics on the population of the musk deer in these two sanctuaries.
The hunters and poachers of India and Nepal hunt the deer and coordinate closely to make trade on the musk pod. The animal parts are smuggled from this area to other places of commercial interests. Due to lack of forest staff, the poachers have easily been carrying out this activity. The poachers set forests on fire to disturb the habitats of the deer, and snare those that come out in order to escape the fire. There have been the cases of seizing the musk pods from the poachers. The last musk pod was seized in 2014. Prior to that, in 2012, two musk pods were seized. The districts – Chamoli, Uttarakashi, Pithoragarh and Bageshwar are vulnerable to this poaching.
The weight of the musk pod is around 100-250 grams making it is to carry. So, it’s not very difficult to smuggle this item on the borders. The solution to resolve this problem lies by strengthening the information between forest, police, informers etc. As per the official record, against sanctioned positions of forest guard of 3650, only 2700 have been filled. So, by improving the networking and strengthening the areas where there are vacuums, this menace can be prevented.
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