The Jammu and Kashmir government is mulling to shift the government owned sheep breeding and trout breeding fish farm from the premises of Dachigam National Park. The park has already banned the entry of vehicles inside the sanctuary to protect the last habitat of hanguls, a critically endangered species now found only in Dachigam.
Informed sources told this newspaper that the sheep breeding farm inside the Dachigam park was approved for relocation the previous Omar Abdullah government, but no headway had been made in the past few years. “The major sources of disturbances for the hanguls are the sheep breeding farm and the trout fish farm. They should be relocated at the earliest to save hanguls,” said a senior wildlife official, adding a decision is likely to be taken very soon at the highest level.
Minister for Forests and Wildlife Lal Singh on Friday disclosed in the Assembly that the government has submitted a project report of Rs. 25.72 crore to the Ministry of Environment and Forests for approval. The report sheds light on the mechanism needed for the preservation and safety of hanguls.
Earlier, a survey had indicated that free entry of vehicles inside the park and permission to grazers to move with their herds in the Dachigam had adversely impacted the life cycle of hanguls in the past few decades. “The presence of sheep farm, dozens of officials, grazers and free entry of vehicles have resulted their fawns facing abortions. It has reduced the hangul population to around 200,” the survey had pointed out.
Acting on the suggestions, the wildlife warden in-charge of Dachigam National Park Tahir Shawl has banned the entry of all vehicles inside the park and has said that many more steps would be taken to save the hanguls. “Dozens of vehicles of officials of sheep and fish farm have been banned from entry. Too much of human traffic inside the park because of the presence of sheep and fish farms is badly impacting the life cycle of hanguls,” Shawl said.