Musk deer farm in Pithoragarh dying slow death?
The musk deer research farm established by the Ayush department in Pithoragarh district in 1977 is witnessing a dwindling population of the animal, probably due to lack of conservation.
Three musk deer died last month bringing down the number from 20 to 17. An official who did not want to be named said, “ Though the cause of death is unknown, chances are that it is the slack in conservation effort of the forest department.”
The farm was established with an aim to undertake research on the extraction of musk and it was kept under regional Ayurveda research institute Tarikhet, at Ranikhet in Almora district. Sources say that this venture was initially successful as it extracted musk from the deer several times in its lifetime.
However, farm in-charge LMS Nayal denied the fact that the farm is no longer serving its purpose. He said that there was only one musk deer in 1977 which has now risen to 17. On the death of deer, he said, “Initially the symptoms of plural effusion were noticed. We have called the Indian veterinary research institute (IVRI) team from Bareilly to find the reason behind the death. Samples have been collected and they are being worked on.”
The IVRI team investigated the food and living condition of the farm. They collected the viscera of the dead deer for further investigation. “The report will be sent to the ministry of health division of Ayush," said Dr PC Banerge the team leader of IVRI Bareilly.
Musk, extracted in the form of small brownish grain seeds having high fragrance, from the genital glands of male deer, is traditionally used in over 50 Ayurvedic and 150 Yunani medicines. “Musk deers are found at an altitude of 10,000 to 14,000 feet of the Himalayas. There is one species of the deer with six sub-species,” said Nayal.