Hangul, Kashmir Stag

The Hangul, the official state animal of Jammu and Kashmir in northern India, has been the subject of much interest over centuries, initially as food and as a hunting trophy and for the last 50 years or so because it is critically endangered.  While there are historic sightings of Hangul in other areas in northern Kashimr and adjacent locations, recent sightings seem to be solely in the area in and around the Dachigam National Park NE of Srinagar in Kashimir.

The map below depicts this area but it is indicative only and not definitive.

General Description

Hangul Range Red

Size:  The head and body length of a typical stag (male) is 190-205cm with a tail of 8-12cm.  Stags are typically 125-145cm in height at the shoulder.  Stags can weigh 150-240kg.  The hinds (females) are 180-195cm in head-body length, with a tail of 8-12cm, a shoulder height 110-120cm and weight 110-170kg.

Appearance:  C. hanglu is a large deer with large ears, large, wide hooves, a short neck mane, large haunches and typically five-tined antlers.  Antlers normally have a terminal transverse fork with a well developed long thin (bez) tine.  The colours of the rump patch and tail vary with the subspecies.

The Hangul has a small rump patch bordered below by a broad black band and a dark tail.  The belly is light coloured and the legs and chest are dark.


The Hangul lives in moist temperate forest in Kashmir from 1700 to 3500m above sea level.


All subspecies of C. hanglu are both grazers and browsers.

Information Resource

This section offers a selection of reports, papers and other documents providing information about the Hangul.  In each case, clicking on the title of the document will start the download.  As far as can be determined, all these documents are in the public domain and are not restircted by special copyright considerations.  Clicking on the title will download the file.

Causes of decline of critically endangered hangul deer in Dachigam National Park, Kashmir (India): A review
G. Mustafa Shah, Ulfat Jan, Bilal A. Bhat* and Fayaz A. Ahanger

Department of Zoology, University of Kashmir, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir – 190006, India, accepted 19 December, 2011

This review presents information on declining population trends of critically endangered red deer of Kashmir commonly known as hangul (Cervus elaphus hanglu) belonging to the family Cervidae. It is restricted to Dachigam National Park (DNP) of Jammu and Kashmir State in India and is on the verge of extinction. The causes of decline of its population are both physical and biological factors. The physical factors include grazing by domestic livestock, fuel-wood and timber extraction, charcoal making and grass cutting. The biological factors include poaching by man and predation by leopard and black bear which are the main predators in DNP. The staff and vehicles of several government departments plying in the park also pose a threat to deer. 

Hangul (Cervus elaphus hanglu) depletion in Dachigam National Park and its adjoining mountainous ranges in Kashmir valley: A Review

Nasir Rashid Wani

Faculty of Forestry, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir, Shalimar (J & K) 191121,India

Abstract: The Kashmir Red Deer or Hangul (Cervus elaphus hanglu) a member of family cervidae being the state animal is presently surviving only under the moist temperate forests of Kashmir region. Most of its population is concentrated in the world famous Dachigam National Park which covers an area of 141 square kilometers and is located on foothills of Zabarwan range among the high mountains of the mighty western Himalayas. In the past Kashmir had a large and vibrant population of Hangul.Now at present the Hangul has been declared critically endangered species by Red Data Book of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). The declining population of Hangul in Kashmir is because of the shrinkage of forests due to deforestation, fragmentation of natural habitat due to closure of corridor links between Overa Wildlife Sanctuary and Shikargah Conservation Reserve as well as other potential habitats, contamination of high altitude water bodies due to dam projects and climatic changes due to tourism and recreation and also high population pressure has significantly curbed the wild population of Hangul.There is an urgent requirement to initiate a conservation breeding programme to augment Hangul population in the wild.

The Cambridge World Wildlife Study Centre Expedition to Kashmir 1974 Operation Hangul 1974 Full Report 

Frances Ashcroft, John Buxton, Dewar Donnithorne-Tait, Sylvia Harcourt, Kristina Rudd

This report covers a survey of the status of the Hangul in the summer of 1974.  The survey was based in Dachigam National Park and the report includes sketch maps of the area and a full description of the issues to be addressed.  A detailed list of recommendations to improve the conservation of the Hangul and its habitat is given.

Present status of Hangul Cervus elaphus hanglu Wagner, 1884

M. S. Bacha, 8th February 2014, Kashmir

Summary - The Hangul in its last abode of Dachigam is virtually facing an unstable position since 1990s. Its overall population status in Dachigam and other relic populations in Kashmir (Tral-Overa, Lidder; Chattergul-Wanghat, Sindh and Diver Inderbug- Lolab, Kishanganga), must be less than 150-200.  A ‘mega-preserve of Greater Dachigam' concept has been proposed to strengthen the protection in the Buffer Zone by up-grading conservation reserves and securing an Eco-Sensitive Zone by declaring remaining Tral and Sindh areas protected, besdies extending protection to the Kishanganga sub-population with an alternate conservation site.  In view of the present status, it is proposed that Hangul should be in the Red Data Book as a critically endangered subspecies.


Management Plan (2011 - 2016) Dachigam National Park

Rahid Y. Naqash, Wildlife Warden Central; Lalit Kumar Sharma Research Scholar

Summary - Dachigam National Park is one of the most important protected area in Jammu and Kashmir state because it holds the last viable population of Hangul in the world and one of the largest populations of Asiatic Black Bear.  The park spreads over an area of 141 sq. km in the Zabarwan mountain ranges of the great Himalayas.  In the past, the main focus of the park's management has been on the protection of the wildlife and habitat.  Today the wildlife enjoys near wilderness conditions, because of the proper management of the park and the protection given.  Now the other facets of the management of the park should be explored in the light of the changing world.  This draft management plan, written for the period 2011-16, focuses on the more important aspects.


A Critical Note on the Status of the Hangul (Kashmir Stag) October 2015

With the advent of Wildlife Week, on 2nd of October, 2015, Environment Policy Group (EPG) discussed the Environmental Policy Paper on the status of the state animal, Hangul (Kashmir Deer) at the Governing Council Meeting which was held at Peerzo Island, Srinagar.

The paper was presented by Mohammad Shafi Bacha, Chairman, Wildlife Conservation Fund and Advisor to the Environmental Policy Group (a Socio-Enviro Think Tank). [www.epg.org.in]  The Meeting was supported by Sanctuary Asia, a leading wildlife policy magazine.

According to the abstract, the Dachigam Hangul population has marked the lowest ever recorded number of 110 to 130 in the year of 2015. It’s overall population status in Dachigam and other relic populations in Kashmir range from 150 to 180; so as present the deer faces a precarious situation in the valley.

© Dewar Donnithorne-Tait 2019