The hunting of musk deer is illegal in China, Mongolia and South Korea, although trade is permitted (2). In the Russian Federation hunting legislation varies by region; in some areas it is permitted, but a license is required and quotas are set, whereas in other regions such as Sakahlin (inhabited by the rare subspecies M. m. sachalinensis) hunting the deer is completely forbidden. Unfortunately, a lack of enforcement of regulations has meant they have had little impact on reducing hunting pressure on the Siberian musk deer and there is good evidence that its population remains in decline (2) (7). Improvements in these regulations have been proposed, such as financial incentives for legal hunting, increased enforcement of trading laws, more accurate assessments of the levels of musk in traditional medicine preparations, and research into synthetic substitutes (2) (7). Musk deer farming, which is practised in China and Russia, has shown that it is possible to extract musk from a deer without killing it, but the farming has proved problematic, with the deer succumbing to disease, fighting and producing musk in lower amounts and of poorer quality (7) (8). As a result, the killing of wild deer has remained one of the most cost-effective means of obtaining musk. It has been suggested that open farming could be practiced, whereby free-ranging musk deer are caught and the musk then extracted (8), or alternatively, wild deer could have the musk sustainably extracted in the same manner, ensuring that the species is conserved without damaging local livelihoods (9).
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