Golden deer population in Chatthin Wildlife Sanctuary increases

The endangered golden deer species is found in Myanmar, mostly in Chatthin and Shwesattaw Wildlife sanctuaries.  Photo: MNA
The endangered golden deer species is found in Myanmar, mostly in Chatthin and Shwesattaw Wildlife sanctuaries.  Photo: MNA

The golden deer population in Chatthin Wildlife Sanctuary in Kantbalu Township has increased from 728 last year to 889 in 2018, said an official from the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forest yesterday.
The Rucervus eldii (golden deer) census was conducted in the sanctuary by officials of the ministry, wildlife conservationists and volunteers from 28 to 30 March in the three zones of the sanctuary.
The golden deer is a rare species of deer found in Myanmar, mostly in the Shwesettaw and Chatthin wildlife sanctuaries.
The number of golden deer was on the decline from 2014 to 2016.
To conserve the endangered species, the staff of the ministry created a salt field for them during the rainy season, planting rice and corn, and constructed small reservoirs in accordance with plans for the 2018-2019 fiscal year to the 2027-2028 fiscal year.
During the survey, the conservationists also discovered trees being illegally cut and forest products being smuggled, said the official.
Myanmar environmental conservation and forestry organisations, along with local residents, are advocating for the prevention of the extinction of golden deer at the Chatthin Wildlife Sanctuary.
The sanctuary is located between Kantbalu and Kawlin townships in Sagaing Region.
The deer, which live in groups, are being overhunted by deer hunters.
The sanctuary in upper Myanmar was established in 1940, when some 1,000 deer lived in the area.
The sanctuary is now on a 66,273-acre forest reserve operated by the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry. There were some 3,000 deer in the sanctuary between 1995 and 1996, when the population was tracked using radio signals.
The vegetarian mammal’s scientific name is Cervus eldithamin.
The sanctuary is also populated with 360 other species of mammals, including barking deer, wild cats and wild boars, 1,235 species of birds and 360 species of reptiles.—Aung Win Nyein

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