Thursday, August 6, 2009 - 10:30 AM

COS 96-8: CANCELLED - Distribution, and population status of himalayan musk deer (Moschus chrysogaster) in Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve, Nepal

Man B. Karki, University College, Tibhuvan University, Kathmandu


The Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve, the only hunting reserve of the country, serves as an ideal habitat for himalayan musk deer. It is sub-divided into seven hunting blocks namely Barse, Fagune, Surtibang, Ghustung, Seng, Sundaha, and Dogari. The reserve allows the trophy hunting of the blue sheep but poaching of other species including the musk deer is ever increasing in the reserve. The research aimed to explore the distribution and population of the musk deer in the few blocks (Barse, Fagune and, Surtibang) of the reserve. It also aimed to explore the prevailing threats to the research species. One seasonal study was done from March–May, 2007. Distribution of the musk deer was found by observing their feacal pellet groups along line transects from the range above 3000 meters. Silent drive count was conducted in Barse block to find out the population of the deer. The threats to the deer in the study area was known through the questionnaire survey and by direct field observations.

Results/Conclusions The musk deer were distributed within the narrow altitudinal range of 3400-4000 meter and mostly concentrated within 3600-3800 meter due to different factors like availability of most coveted vegetation and other external interferences at other elevations.3 musk deers were counted during a silent drive in the Barse block and this indicated the population density of the musk deer in the Barse block at 1.5 deers/square kilometer. Musk deer in the reserve mostly preferred the forest area followed by the shrub land and then the grassland. The musk deer in the reserve were mostly threatened with poaching and habitat destruction by deforestation and fire. Musk deer in the reserve were mostly threatened with poaching and habitat destruction by deforestation and fire. The deer were also highly threatened by the livestock encroachment in the habitat. The reserve authority should encourage the local residents towards the musk deer conservation and should increase the guard posts and patrolling in the reserve area with active participation of local people. Key words: Musk deer, habitat, population, Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve, Poaching