(Marpha Village Development Committee (VDC), Mustang)
Himalayan Musk Deer Conservation Project
The Biodiversity Research and Training Forum (BRTF)
P.o.Box-299, Pokhara, Nepal.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org A Report submitted to The Rufford Small Grants Foundation
2007 Acknowledgement: I would like to acknowledge Dr Michael J.B. Green, Ram Sharma (Research Fellow,
University of Life science, Norway), Professor, Dr. I.C. Dutta (Tribhuvan University, Nepal), Bhawani Kharel (IUCN, Nepal) and Dr. Sanat Kumar Dhungel who encourage me to carry out this project.
I am highly indebted to Rufford Maurice Laing foundation, UK for providing funding for this research.
I wish to extend sincere thanks Kriti Natha Poudel (Project Coordinator, ACAP) for granting me the permission to conduct the study in ACA, Lizan Kumar Marsky,
(Conservation officer, ACAP) for providing valuable suggestion and generous support. Special thanks are extended to Nawaraj Chapagai for their support in GIS Map preparation, Suresh Thapa, Dhurba Laudari, and ACAP Jomsom family for supporting during the field study. Santosh Aryal. A. Pyakurel, Bhupendra Yadav and Sundar Sharma deserve special thanks for their cooperation and encouragement.
CAMC of Marpha deserves thanks for their cooperation during surveys and participatory conservation action plan. All other informants are thanked for sharing their information.
Finally, my greatest recognition goes to my beloved parents and my wife Hari M. Chhetri, for their inspiration and moral support for this study.
Table of Contents Acknowledgement: 2
Abstracts of the project: 5
Research part: 5
Conservation Action Plan part: 6
Conservation Education parts: 6
Chapter: One 8
Research Part: 8
Conservation status and protection of Musk deer 9
Overall Objectives of the project: 10
Study Area: 10
Result and discussion: 13
Musk deer in ACAP region: 13
Musk deer; distributed in different forest of Marpha VDC: 14
Population Status: 15
Perception of schools student and local people of Marpha VDC: 15
Habitat types preference by musk deer: 16
Altitude, Cover, Aspect/Slope preferred by Musk deer: 17
Important value Index (IVI) of tree species in Musk deer Habitat: 18
Past and present poaching activities: 19
Present Hunting technique : 19
Past techniques: 20
Potential Poaching area: 21
Pattern of Trades and Use: 21
Global Trade: 21
Trade pattern in Mustang: 22
Potentiality of Musk deer Farming: 22
Habitat loss: 23
Forest fire: 23
Chapter: Two 25
Participatory Action Plan for Musk deer Conservation in Marpha Village of Mustang District, Nepal 25
Introduction of Area: 26
Human Population: 26
Present situation of local people (economy): 26
Cooking fuel wood used Pattern and dependency in forest for fuel wood: 27
Forest degradation and Habitat loss in Marpha: 27
Forest fire Marpha: 28
Grazing pattern in Marpha village 28
Current activities carried out for the conservation of Musk deer: 29
4. Role and Responsibility of Conservation Area Management Committee: 36
5. Fine/Penalties: 36
6. Price/award: 37
7. Source of income for CAMC : 37
8. Total cost for implementation of action plan: 37
Chapter: Third 38
Conservation Education Part: 38
Poster and Brochure Publication: 38
Conservation awareness Activities in Marpha Schools: 38
Essay competition: 39
Art competition: 40
Awareness class: 42
Financial statement: 42
Chapter: Four 43
Overall Conclusion and Recommendations 43
Tops three winners of Art competition / (English translation from Nepali): 46
Selective Top 8 Arts drawing by Schools students of Janawal Higher secondary school, Marpha: 49
Abstracts of the project: Himalayan Musk deer ‘Moschus chrysogaster’ is vulnerable species of Nepal. The project entitled “Conservation of Musk Deer ‘Moschus chrysogaster’ in Annapurna Conservation area ofMustang district of Nepal ” was carried out in Marpha Village Development Committee (VDC) of Mustang district, Nepal.
The survey was carried out by direct field inventory, population/pellet count and questionnaire survey. Pellets groups were counted in transect line with the help of local people. Vegetation analysis was carried out in musk deer habitat by using sample plots of 10m X 10m for tree layer, 4m X 4m for all woody undergrowth up to 3m in height, and 1m X 1m for the herb layer.
In Mustang district Musk deer is found in Tukuchhe, Marpha, Muktinath, Kobang, and Kagbeni VDCs and is suspected in Jomsom, Ghasa, Kunjo and Lete VDC.
15 musk deer (5 male, 9 Female, 1 unclassified) were counted in Lumbubiyo forest area through silent drive count. Pellet group density in Chichugan forest was 7.26/ha. Therefore using regression model developed by Aryal, 200, it was estimated that there was 2.4 musk deer/sq. km. Local people strongly believe that population of musk deer is being declined from the forest of Marpha VDC. Majority of the school’s students were unknown about its legal status and only 2% of knew about that.
Forest land is most preferred habitat types by musk deer. The preferable altitude of the Musk deer in study area was 3300-3700m. There was increasing encounter rate of pellet 10○ to 45○ of angle of slope in study area then gradually decreasing. Moderate crown cover (50-70%) was highest in study area and pellet group were found in moderate crown cover. Total 5 species of tree, 4 species of shrub and 7 species of herb were recorded. Abies sp. (IVI=108.35) was most prominent followed by Betula utilis (IVI=91.95), Juniperus sp. (IVI=36.1), Cupressustorulosa (IVI=31.49), Pinus wallichiana (IVI=32.11). Snare/trap was preferred method of poaching. In the past, poachers used guns, poison and dogs for killing Musk deer. There were high threats to Musk deer habitat due to overgrazing by domestic livestock, forest fire, timber and other forest product collection, etc
Conservation Action Plan part:
Participatory Musk deer conservation action plan was prepared by participation of local people specially Conservation Area Management Committee (CAMC), Marpha. Local people demand for alternative source instead of not disturbing musk deer habitat. They demanded for different programme specially focusing on income generating activities. Total cost for implementation of proposed action plan was nearly $ 82,500.00.
Conservation Education parts:
Conservation education activities like art and essay competition, were carried out in school of the study area. Students from Class 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 participated in the activities. Total 21 and 23 students participated in art and essay competition respectively. Two days conservation education classes on introduction of musk deer, distribution range, status of Musk deer in Nepal, and ACA, threats on it habitat, our role and responsibility in Musk deer conservation etc, were conducted for students of class 6 to 10. The class was expected to change attitude of local people towards the conservation of musk deer in study area.
Poster and Brochure Publication: The Project had published poster entitled as Save the Himalayan Musk deer and distributed it to schools students and local people so that it couldconvey the message of saving the musk deer for our future. Similarly, musk deerinformation brochures were published to provide information regarding musk deer and itsstatus in Nepal, which had been published in Nepali language.
ACRONYMS ACA : Annapurna Conservation Area
ACAP : Annapurna Conservation Area Project
CITES : Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of
IUCN : International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural
IVI : Importance Value Index
m : meters
OIC : Office-in-Charge
pers. comm.: personal communication
RD : Relative Density
Rdom : Relative Dominance
RF : Relative Frequency
UCO : Unite Conservation Office
VDC : Village Development Committee
Chapter: One Research Part Introduction:
Musk deer ‘Moschus chrysogaster’ belongs to order- Artiodactyla, family- Moschidae is found in Asia. Musk deer is a protected mammal and listed as an endangered species by the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 1973 in Nepal. It is listed in Appendix I for Afghanistan, India, Nepal and Pakistan, and in Appendix II for Bhutan and China under CITES. It is distributed in Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan. In Nepal, it is found in the Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA), Kanchenjunga Conservation Area (KCA), Sagarmatha, Langtang, Shey Phoksundo, Rara, Khaptad and Makalu Barun National Parks and Manaslu Conservation Area, where a major problem is poaching (HMG/N, 2002). In these areas, they are distributed in Alpine forest and the vegetation is oak, fir, rhododendron, blue pine, juniper, grass, lichens and scrub between elevations of 2,200 to 4,300 meters (7,250-14,200 feet) on the eastern and southern edge of Tibet and the southern slopes of the Himalayas. M.chrysogaster usually lives in forests with moderate to steep slopes (Green, 1987, Kattel, 1992).
Himalayan Musk deer are essentially solitary animals having 12-20 year life span. The male is highly territorial. But females appear to be noticeably tolerant of other individuals. Average home range of males is larger than that of females (Kattel, 1992). The presence of the musk gland (pod) is one of the characteristics features of the species, which is present only in the male (Shrestha, 1989).
Musk deer is reported to face predator pressure from Leopard (Panthera pardus), Clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), Snow leopard (Uncia uncia), Lynx(Felis lynx), Wolf (Canis lupus) and Wild dog (Cuon alpinus) (Shrestha, 1981).Populations of musk deer are poached for the musk gland that fetchesenormous amounts of money through illegal international trade. Populationof Musk deer is decline due to poaching, high human and domestic livestockpressure, consequent degradation of habitat and, in respect of poaching, ithas been estimated that for every male deer that yields one musk pod, fourdeer are killed. (Green, 1986; HMG/Nepal, 2002).
The musk produced by this genus of primitive deer is highly esteemed for its cosmetic and alleged pharmaceutical properties and can fetch US$ 45,000 per kilogram (2.2 pounds) on the international market. Although this musk, produced in a gland of the males, can be extracted from live animals, most "musk-gatherers" kill the animals to remove the entire sac, which yields only about 25 grams (1/40 of a kilogram) of the brown waxy substance (Green, 1986; Knowler, 2000).
Conservation status and protection of Musk deer:
The conservation status of species of Musk deer is recorded as follows in the
IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals (IUCN, 1996):
Siberian Musk deer: Vulnerable (VU)
Forest Musk deer: Lower Risk (nt)
Himalayan Musk deer: Himalayan Musk deer is placed in Appendix I of
CITES and its IUCN Red list status is "Vulnerable" (IUCN, 2004).
Black Musk deer: Lower Risk (nt)
Global conservation and trade status of musk deer:
Global conservation status¹
Global status under CITES³
Musk deer Moschus spp.
LR/nt ver 2.3 (1994)
Appendix II (1979) ⁵
Forest musk deer Moschus berezovskii
LR/nt ver 2.3 (1994)
Appendix II (1979) ⁵
Alpine musk deer Moschus chrysogaster
LR/nt ver 2.3 (1994)
Appendix II (1979) ⁵
Black musk deer Moschus fuscus
LR/nt ver 2.3 (1994)
Appendix II (1979) ⁵
Siberian musk deer Moschus moschiferus
VU A1acd ver 2.3 (1994)
Appendix II (1979) ⁵
Anhui musk deer⁶ Moschus anhuiensis
Appendix II (1979) ⁵
1 Global conservation status is based on the IUCN Red List. The bold symbol indicates the population trend: declining for tiger and uncertain for Asiatic black bear. Ver refers to the version of the Red List Categories and Criteria used to classify a taxon, but not the year in which it was classified.
3 Global protection status in based on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The year of listing is inbrackets.
5 All species of musk deer are listed in CITES Appendix II, except Himalayan populations of Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan, which are listed in Appendix I (1983).
6 This species is not recognised in the IUCN Red List. Some authorities consider it to be the same as M. fuscus.
Vulnerable (= VU) means: threatened because of an observed, estimated or anticipated reduction in population in the past or future. Lower Risk signifies that the species is not included in the three categories of “threat” but “nt” (= near threatened) classifies them as approaching a threatened level. All Musk deer species have been included in the Appendices of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) since 1979. Populations of Siberian Musk deer Moschusmoschiferus occurring in the countries of the Himalayan region (Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan) were included in Appendix I (although Green (1998) considers these populations to be of Himalayan Musk deer Moschus chrysogaster and Black Musk deer M. fuscus), while all other Musk deer species are listed in Appendix II. Musk deer is a protected mammal and listed as endangered species by the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 1973 in Nepal.
Overall Objectives of the project: 1. Determine the population Status of musk deer in study area.
2. Assess the present habitat structure.
3. Assess past and present the poaching activities and trade pattern of musk deer in study area.
4. Map out distribution and potential poaching area in ACA.
5. Find out current threats to musk deer population and their habitats.
6. Conduct conservation education awareness class for local people and know the perception of local people towards the conservation of musk deer.
7. Preparation of Musk deer conservation education kit (Brochures and poster).
8. Prepared the participatory musk deer conservation action plan.
Methodology: Study Area
Study area was lies within the Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA), the first conservation area and the largest protected area of Nepal, has adopted a new approach and concept in protected area management. It is managed by the King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation (KMTNC) as the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP).
Mustang (Long. 83.29-84.15 degree and Lat. 28.29-29.06 degree) is one of the northern remote districts of high altitude Himalayan region of Nepal and second in terms of sparsely distribution of population, bordering to the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) of China. It is flanked by the Nepalese districts of Manang to the east and Dolpo to the west; the Tibetan frontier stretches north from Mustang’s borders. Almost all the districts lies above 2500 m with cold and strong desiccating windy weather, high altitude steppe and falls into the rain shadow of the Dhaulagiri Himalayas to the west and the Annapurna massif to the east. The climate in Mustang is arid, with most of the precipitation in the form of snow. Temperatures range between 0 to 20 degrees in summer and –30 to 0 degrees in winter. Depending on altitude regimes, Mustang is geographically divided into two sectors; Lower and Upper Mustang (Long. 83.653-84.28 degree and Lat. 28.887-29.34 degree). Intensive study was carried out Marpha VDC of Mustang district, intensive field survey was carried out in Chicheghan and Lambiyo forest of Marpha VDC which covered 2 sq. km area (see map of study area below).
Photo: Study site ; Marpha VDC of Mustang district.
Silent drive and pellet count method were done to find out the population of musk deer. Silent drive count was used in Lumbubiyo forest area. Pellet count was done in Chichugan forest. Approximately 30 days pellets groups were counted in transect line with the help of local people (It was on the bases on past experience of local people).
Regression model developed by Aryal, 2005 was used for the predication of population through pellet density. Regression equation for the estimation of
Population density/km2 (X) was 0.59+0.003Y (where Y = pellet density/sq.km) (Aryal, 2005).
Formal and informal interviews were done to determine hunting practices, poaching areas, wildlife knowledge and hunting equipment and its threats. Distribution pattern was identified on the basis of direct observation, presence and absence of pellets and tracks and from interviews with local herders and other key informants.
Vegetation analysis was carried out in Musk deer habitat. Vegetation survey was conducted with random sampling methods in all representative areas. Sample plots were laid where encounter with pellets occurred and also plots were laid where pellets were absent. Sample plot size for plants were used as suggested by Schemnitz, D.S, 1980: that is 10m X 10m for tree layer, 4m X 4m for all woody undergrowth to 3m in height, and 1m X 1m for the herb layer in composite plot. And calculated plant density, frequency, abundance etc.
Basal area of a species was a sum of basal area of individual trees of that species which will be calculated using the formula:
Basal area = 3.14 (d / 2)2
Where, d= diameter of tree at breast height
Importance Value Index (IVI) of a tree species was obtained by the summation of relative density, relative frequency and relative dominance.
IVI = relative density + relative frequency + relative dominance Participatory Musk Deer Conservation Action Plan was prepared in with the involvement of local people and CAMC, Marpha through participatory way meeting, workshop for the effective management of Musk deer. Inputs were also taken from local people, local authorities of the surrounding VDCs and also from researchers and biologists. Series of focus group discussion were carried out with local people and their view points were taken for preparing the strategies. Technical, financial, administrative strategy was prepared with discussing with concerned Governmental and Non- Governmental organization of the district.
Result and discussion: Musk deer in ACAP region:
Annapurna Conservation Area project provides significant habitat for Himalayan Musk deer. In Manang district they are distributed in Thoche, Tache Bagarchap, Dharapani, Chame, Manang, Tanki Manang, Khansar, and Nar VDCs (Aryal, 2005). Nyeshang valley (which is the largest valley of Manang and starts from Pisang VDC to Throng Phedi and covers the six VDCs) harbours high density of Musk deer population (Aryal, 2005). In Mustang district Musk deer is found in Tukuchhe, Marpha, Muktinath, Kobang, and Kagbeni VDCs and suspected in Jomsom, Kunjo and Lete VDC. Musk deer also found in Parche and Namarjung VDC of Kaski district with in ACAP region (Aryal, 2005).
Musk deer; distributed in different forest of Marpha VDC:
Marpha VDCs is covered by 745 sq.km area which is surround by Kagbeni, Tukuche, and Jomsom VDCs. Marpha is one of the potential site for the Musk deer habitat, out of it total area, 60 sq.km is Musk deer potential distribution area. Musk deer are found in different site forest within the VDCs. Musk deer distribution forest site within the VDCs are:
1. Phong 5.Kuplithang
2. Chicheghang 6. Thalche
3. Napang Danda 7. Lumbuniyo
15 musk deers (5 male, 9 Female, 1 were unclassified) were counted in Lumbubiyo forest area. Pellet count was done in Chichugan forest. Approximately 30 days pellets groups were counted in transect line with the help of local people (It was on the bases on past experience of local people). Pellet group density in Chichugan forest was 7.26/ha therefore by using regression model developed by Aryal, 2005, it was estimated that there was 2.4 musk deer/sq.km. Aryal, 2005 estimated that 4.5 individual/Km2 in Humde area of Manang district so that population density of musk deer in study area is less than Humde area.
Chichugan forest is more human-livestock pressure than Lumbubiyo forest. Thanche and Phong forest which less human-livestock pressure area and frequency of pellet observation was high in this area. So highest number of musk deer population is present in Thanche and Phong forest of Marpha VDC.
Perception of schools student and local people of Marpha VDC:
Local people strongly believed that population of musk deer is declining from the forest of Marpha VDC. About 86 % of local people said that the population of musk deer is decline high rate.
Interviews were taken from herders and other local people of the study area. According to them main cause of population declining is poaching; every year large number of snare is collecting from study site. Last year, 97 snares were collected by patrolling team so it seems that there is high rate of poaching activities. Many respondents blamed poaching, killing by predators, human and livestock disturbance in its habitat as the main cause of population decline. Schools student emphasis to launch conservation awareness camp to focus to herder and uneducated people of village. All the schools students were not known its legal status and only 2% of respondents know its legal status. Villager were agree that poaching activities less in this year as compare to past year, it was due to strong punishment of CAMC and ACAP who work illegal activities. Therefore, there was urgent need to conduct conservation awareness activities both for schools students as well as villagers.
Habitat types preference by musk deer:
Four different types of habitats were selected from study areas for the observation of the Musk deer pellets. All together 57 plots were laid out in study area and pellet occurrence was recorded. Total 77 (old and fresh) pellets groups (TPP) were found in transect lines. Highest group of pellets were found in forest land (68%) followed by shrub land, grass land and open land.
Habitat preference (HP)
HP= ---------- X 100 TPP
HP= Habitat preference
PPE= Pellet present in each habitat in plots.
TPP = Total pellet present of the all habitat types in plots.
Hence, forest land is most preferred habitat types by musk deer.
Altitude, Cover, Aspect/Slope preferred by Musk deer:
area is 3300- 3700m.
The highest rate of encounter with
Musk deer pellet was 36○ to 45○
Angle of slope in both study areas
Aryal, 2005, also recorded that musk
deer pellet was encounter as highest
rate from 36○ to 45○. There was
increasing encounter rate of pellet
10○ to 45○ of angle of slope in study
area then gradually decreasing.
Highest numbers of pellets were found in NW aspect.
Cover such as dense forest, rock, cave streambed and gully was recorded within 50m radius from laid plot. Twenty nine percent of dense forest was recorded within the 50m radius from the plot in the study area and followed by gully (21%), cliff, rock, cave, and streambed. Nine percent of plot area, there was not found any such cover within 50m radius from the plot. Generally musk deer preferred to rest near the dense cover if they feel unsafe they can move to save place i.e. dense forest.
oderate crown cover (50-70%) was highest in study area and pellet group were found in moderate crown cover, it may due to in moderated crown cover area sunlight inter to ground level and musk deer
Take opportunity rest in this site.
About 51% of pellets were found
in moderate cover and followed
by sparse, very spares, and dense
forest. There was less area as
a dense forest also.
Ground cover was also observed
And pellets were observed in
moderate ground cover where
33% of pellet were found and
followed by spares, dense and very spare area.
Important value Index (IVI) of tree species in Musk deer Habitat
Total 5 species of tree, 4 species of shrub and 7 species of herb were recorded. Abies sp. (IVI=108.35) was most prominent followed by Betulautilis (IVI=91.95), Juniperus sp. (IVI=36.1), Cupressus torulosa (IVI=31.49), Pinus wallichiana (IVI=32.11).
Table: Important Value Index (IVI) of tree species recorded in Musk deer habitat.
Trees: Scientific name
Past and present poaching activities:
There are no different techniques to kill musk deer as in Manang district (Aryal,2005). Hunters use a variety of techniques to kill Musk deer, which include snaring and shooting, the latter sometimes aided by dogs. In the past hunters usually used guns and dogs but now due to security situation in the country shooting is replaces by snaring.
Present Hunting technique:
There are a few well established methods of hunting and killing Musk deer by poachers. The most commonly practice method is snaring and trapping. Musk deer usually follow a fixed trail (e.g., defecating place or grazing ground). Such trail is always well marked in the mountain spur. The poachers are aware of this habit and construct fence lines usually along a mountain spur, encircling a large habitat of Musk deer, leaving gaps in frequently used paths. Occasionally, the snare line runs from the top of the mountain to the river valley with more than 50 individual traps. For setting the snare, a small hole measuring about 20 to 25cm and 10cm deep is dug and two small pencil-like pegs with inner side made flat are fixed about 15cm apart inside the hole. After this, a stick of about one inch is bent and strongly fixed with both ends making an arch over it for fixing a trigger. The trigger is pulled further by the pressure of a bent over pole. A small horizontal stick with one side is fixed in the pegs. Just above it a wooden platform is built and a wire snare is set with one end attached to the bent over pole. When Musk deer treads on the hidden platform, the horizontal stick falls down by the weight of the Musk deer, the trigger is released with force and as a result the pole straightens, the noose is pulled tight around the animal’s leg and the creature is jerked in the air. This is a most wasteful method of killing the deer for musk, as this often kills young and females which do not yield musk.
In past, poachers were used to baying by hunting dogs. These dogs are trained to track the Musk deer by its scent. When the dogs locate the Musk deer, they start chasing without overtaking it till the animal becomes totally exhausted. The dog barks aloud to announce baying of the victim to its master. The poacher arrives at the spot quickly to kill the deer. Another method is killing the animal using poison. Musk deer is very fond of the leaves of alpine area. Musk hunters apply the local poison (Skimmia laureola) on the leaves of this shrub and bait in areas frequented by Musk deer. Another technique uses a pointed bamboo arrow or splinter dipped in poison fixed downhill across a regularly used path in a mountain ridge at the level of belly height. When the Musk deer is disturbed on one side of the ridge, it flees towards the other side by leaps and bounds. At the same time, the poison splinters may inflict a wound in the abdominal region and kill the animal.
Photos: Snare using for musk deer poaching. Photo By: Aryal, A
Another technique was to shoot Musk deer. In the past this was the main method of killing Musk deer but now due to the security situation in the country, all private guns have been impounded in the District Administration Office, Mustang. So shooting was replaced by snaring.
Potential Poaching area:
Marpha VDC's forest is one of the potential poaching areas of Mustang district. Past experience of local people, most post potential sites of poaching area are:
and Chicheghang forest.
Large numbers of snare were collected by CAMC member during the patrolling of forest. In 1996 patrolling team of CAMC found 3 dead musk deer (ACAP, 1996). 1 juvenile musk deer found in trap in 1999, (ACAP,1999). In 1993 the local villagers of Marpha had caught three poacher with trophies of musk deer and several snares in forest and handover to ACAP office for legal action and the legal unit of ACAP pokhara finalize the case and penalize the victims sending to prison seven year for one and five years for two others(ACAP,1999).
Every year large number of snare was recorded by Patrolling team of CAMC, Marpha. 400 number of snare recorded in 2001, 287 number in 2002, 87 number in 2003 (per.com with Chariman of Marpha CAMC,2005)
Pattern of Trades and Use:
The musk secreted by the musk gland of the males has been used in the perfumery industries for a long time for its intensity, persistence and fixative properties. In Asia, including China, it has also long been used in traditional medicine as a sedative and as a stimulant to treat a variety of ailments (Green, 1985, Sheng, 1998, Homes, 1999). In China, Musk deer have been hunted for musk, and musk purchasing has been conducted in rural markets or via local medicine companies and the perfume industry perfume is produced based on natural musk, but production is not high at present (Zhang, 1983). The use of musk in the perfume industry in China has decreased because of the high price, and because of animal welfare and species conservation concerns. The effects of musk have been known in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for several thousand years, musk being used in about 300 pharmaceutical preparations (Sheng, 1992). China has a high domestic demand for musk (Homes, 1999), and this originates from both legal and illegal sources within the country. The total demand for musk is between 500 to 1,000 kg per year in China (Sheng, 1998).
China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Russia, Soviet Union, Cambodia, France, Germany, Japan, Macao, Senegal, Singapore, Switzerland, Uzbekistan are the exporters of raw musk and 42 countries (Belgium, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Denmark, East Germany, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Honduras, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Macao, Malaysia, Mauritius, Netherlands, New Zealand, North Korea, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, South Korea, Romania, Senegal, Yugoslavia, Soviet Union, Switzerland, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, Togo, UAE, UK, USA, Singapore) import Musk deer products, including raw musk (Homes, 1999).
China, it is one of the major exporters of Musk deer derivatives. Very little is known about the trade and consumption of musk inside China. According to Wang et al. (1993) the quantity of musk that was annually traded in China in the early 1980s ranged from 2,000 to 2,500kg. According to Sheng and Ohtaishi (1993), some 500,000 Musk deer were killed every year in China in the 1960s. This over-exploitation of Chinese Musk deer populations led to declines from approximately 3,000,000 Musk deer in the 1950s to about 1,000,000 animals in the 1970s. Much of this musk is used in the production of medicinal derivatives and then traded worldwide.
Trade pattern in Mustang:
It was a very difficult task to identify the trade pattern of Musk deer in study area. During the study periods many snares and signs of poaching of Musk deer were found in the study area which shows that there is also trade in Musk deer. The trade is impossible without involvement of local people (who provide information about patrolling and do not necessarily set snares / kill Musk deer directly, only provide information to poachers so as to remain safe from the CAMCs and other authorities), and it is very difficult to discover who is involved. Generally poachers come from Gorkha, Dhading, Lamjung and Tanahaun districts same as manang. According to local people and former hunters one male Musk deer produces about 3 tola (1 tola = 11.64gm) of Musk. At local level one tola of Musk is priced at NRs 5,000. Poachers supply to local middle-men who supply onwards to Tibet. Poachers also supply to middle-men in Kathmandu hiding the musk pods in ghee (clarified butter) bottles (Aryal, 2005).
Potentiality of Musk deer Farming:
Musk deer farming is a good income source which can be seen from experience in China. It is also possible in Nepal as in Marpha. There are some legal constraints in this regard and the need for knowledgeable manpower, funding, etc. In order to develop this concept, good coordination with relevant government ministries and departments and with ACAP will be essential. For this, A feasibility study is essential before the programme implementation. ACAP should take the lead in this.
Need of Musk deer Harvesting programme and Community benefit: The benefits to be accrued from the management, that includes a harvesting scheme of Musk deer, are manifold. ACAP is protecting a highly vulnerable species together with its habitat from further degeneration. Local people would profit immensely from the harvesting scheme. It would be an alternative means of income and an opportunity to manage their natural resources. It must be remembered that the Mustange people are migrating in large numbers to Kathmandu and other urban areas, due to the harshness of the mountainous terrain they inhabit. The landscape is incredibly beautiful but the poor quality of soil does allow much scope for agriculture. Such migration could very well lead to degradation of the Mustang culture. A sound means of income through the Musk deer pod harvesting scheme would be instrumental in encouraging the local people to stay. A well designed “special project” for managing /harvesting the species in its natural habitat is needed.
Threats Habitat loss:
Excessive degradation and fragmentation eventually leads to habitat loss. Potential habitat of Musk deer has already been lost due to high deforestation in Miprakiu forest and Napang Danda area of Marpha VDC. Local people of the Marpha are highly dependent on Musk deer habitat for fuel wood, timber. Fuel wood and timber collection is causing loss of good habitat for sensitive Musk deer.
A main threat of musk deer habitat in Marpha VDC is Forest fire, almost every year forest fire was occurred in musk deer habitat, and it is serious threat of musk deer habitat. Forest fire in last year occurred in 2 sq.km area of musk deer habitat of Marpha forest.
Owing to high seasonality and low primary productivity, the Himalayan region supports relatively low ungulate / herbivore biomass (Aryal, 2005). It is therefore obvious that with the increase in the biomass of domestic livestock in many areas, wild ungulates such as Musk deer have suffered competitive exclusion. Sathyakumar et. al. (1993) have reported that increased livestock grazing and associated impacts have led to low Musk deer densities in many areas in Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary, India. In 68% of Musk deer habitat was seen livestock dung that means there is high grazing pressure in musk deer habitat.
Poaching is another main threat for the population of Musk deer in the study area.
In 1993 the local villagers of Marpha had caught three poacher with trophies of musk deer and several snares in forest and handover to ACAP office for legal action and the legal unit of ACAP pokhara finalize the case and penalize the victims sending to prison seven year for one and five years for two others(ACAP,1999). Every year large number of snare was recorded by Patrolling team of CAMC, Marpha. 400 number of snare recorded in 2001, 287 number in 2002, 87 number in 2003 (per.com with Chariman of Marpha CAMC, 2005).