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Guard risks life for deer

Srinagar, Jan. 13: A 45-year-old temporary forest guard today risked his life and limbs to save a musk deer from a pack of more than a dozen dogs, earning a reward from the government, reports our special correspondent.

The musk deer is an endangered species and occasionally makes the news in Kashmir when hunters kill one.

Ghulam Hassan Malik, who earns a daily wage as a forest department watchman, will be awarded for his courageous act, Kulgam deputy commissioner Jahangir Mir said.

“For a moment I thought I myself would not be able to escape the dogs,” said Malik, who suffered minor injuries. “Some of them grabbed my phiran (long woollen kurta) and attempted to bite me, but I didn’t give up and continued to fight back.”

The Kulgam resident said he was not on duty this morning and was leaving the local mosque in Khul village when he saw the dogs chasing the deer.

“The animal had almost given up and was struggling to run. I started running towards it and tried to push the dogs back. The dogs attacked me but my cries alerted my son, who helped me rescue the deer,” Malik said.

Malik took the deer, which was unscathed, to his home before handing it over to the wildlife department.

The deer is around two years old and had strayed out of the nearby Pir Panchal range, Kashmir wildlife warden Manzoor Ahmad Tak said. “We are monitoring the deer. It will be sent back to the forest.”

Tak said no musk deer census had been conducted in Kashmir. “They are present across the Valley. They are endangered but are not a critically endangered species,” he said.