Catalog Number: USNM 63472
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Mammals
Preparation: Skin; Skull; Skeleton
Collector(s): W. Abbott
Year Collected: 1895
Locality: Bandipur, Jammu And Kashmir, India, Asia
Elevation (m): 2438
- Type: 1982. Saugetierkundliche Mitteilungen. 30 (1): 133.
Habitat and Ecology
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
Besides hunting for meat, which is considered a delicacy locally, hunting of the muskdeer is primarily for trade of musk glands, which reached the area reportedly only 30 years ago and has led to a substantial increase in hunting since then. The musk produced by this genus of primitive deer is highly valued for its cosmetic and alleged pharmaceutical properties, and can fetch U.S. $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. Such poaching is relatively easy to accomplish and difficult to stop using only legal means. Today local hunters are reportedly able to get ca $200-250 per musk gland from mostly foreign traders (the main market is reportedly in the Middle East). The increased availability of guns over the last few decades and the political instability in the area, which has resulted in a basically uncontrolled trade to bordering Pakistan, have added significantly to the amount of wildlife being hunted for trade. During the summer the species stays in higher mountain regions and is apparently opportunistically hunted by shepherds (almost all of whom carry guns for hunting purposes). Most animals are reportedly hunted in winter when muskdeer distribution and ranging patterns are most predictable. As reported, the species is exclusively hunted with guns; snares apparently are not being used at least in the area surveyed (WCS/USAID Afghanistan Biodiversity Conservation Program / Maria Karlstetter pers. comm. 2008).
The Government of Afghanistan has listed M. cupreus on the country’s Protected Species List, banning all hunting and trading of this species within Afghanistan.
Kashmir musk deer
The Kashmir Muskdeer (Moschus cupreus) is an endangered species of musk deer native to Afghanistan, Republic of India, and Pakistan. This species was originally described as a subspecies to the Alpine Musk Deer, but is now classified as a separate species.
- Timmins, R.J. & Duckworth, J.W. (2008). "Moschus cupreus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/136750. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
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