Hangul Taxonomy

Kashmir Stag, Hangul (Cervus hanglu hanglu)

Cervus hanglu, the Central Asian species of Red Deer (also formerly known as the Tarim Red Deer) is now thought to exist in three subspecies.  Little is known about the exact status of the two more western subspecies (C. h. yarkandensis in the Yarkand-Tarim region and C. h. bactrianus in the Bukhara region) but they are listed as being of least concern.  The Hangul, or Kashmir Stag (C. h. hanglu), has a population of probably not more than 200 individuals and is now formally classified as critically endangered..


     Class: Mammalia
     Order: Artiodactyla
     Suborder: Ruminantia
     Family: Cervidae
     Subfamily: Cervinae
     Genus: Cervus
     Species: C. hanglu

Background - Former Thinking

For many years the Red Deer complex, including European and North African Red Deer, Tarim Red Deer and Eastern Asian and North American Wapiti were considered as one species. Several genetic studies have recently tried to clarify the taxonomy of this species complex. 

Until recently the Handbook of Mammals of the World (HMW) identified three Red Deer species:  C. elaphus (Europe and North Africa), C. canadensis (North America, also known as Wapiti and Elk) and C. wallichii (East Asia).  Three subspecies of C. wallichii were identified:

C. w. wallichii G. Cuvier, 1823 – SW China (SE Xizang), Bhutan, also known as the Shou

C. w. hanglu Wagner, 1844 – N India (Kashmir), also known as the Hangul and Kashmir Stag

C. w. macneilli Lydekker, 1909 – C & SW China (N Quinghai, Gansu, Shaanxi, W Sichuan & E Xizang), also known as MacNeill’s.

A previous fourth subspecies, the Kansu Red Deer (C. w. kansuensis) was no longer identified.

Current Thinking

Recent genetic studies provide a basis for proposing the following species groupings for Red Deer:

C. elaphus, in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East

C. hanglu, in Central Asia and northern India (Kashmir)

C. canadensis, in North America, SW China (SE Xizang), Bhutan and C & SW China (N Quinghai, Gansu, Shaanxi, W Sichuan & E Xizang)

© Dewar Donnithorne-Tait 2019