Only one musk deer is present across zoos in the country, according to a response obtained under the Right to Information Act. The Central Zoo Authority, under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoECC), stated that the lone male musk deer was in a zoo in Himachal Pradesh.
A Noida-based RTI activist had sought details on the population of musk deers across states in the country, both in zoos as well as in the wild. He had also asked statistics related to the poaching of the wild species if any. “There are only single male musk deer (that) exists in the recognized zoo (Himalayan Nature Park, Kufri as on 31.03.2018),” said the Central Zoo Authority, which maintains the records of captive animals in zoos.
There are seven musk deer species of the genus Moschus and all of them are endemic to Asia. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the endangered species is native to Bhutan, China, India, and Nepal with its population on a rapid decline.
“Little is known of the species’ current status,” the IUCN website states about the musk deer which has been traditionally hunted for its use in medicine and perfume industry. Tomar, also a lawyer, said the government needs to take every possible step to prevent the muse deer from extinction.
“It is strange that this male deer have been in the zoo in Kufri since 2018 and has not been mated yet in order to save its species,” he said. No official data could be found immediately on the population of musk deer living in the wild.
Date: 07 March 2019