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Himalayan musk deer (Moschus chrysogaster)

Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 13257839

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation (Project No. 13257839) - Himalayan musk deer - Awarded $10,500 on January 17, 2014

Musk deer (Moschus spp) is an endangered mammal, are not only a great concern for the conservation, but also of great interest to identify the species of musk deer using genetic tool and study taxonomic and phylogenetic associations in this groups in Nepal. Besides, the habitat of musk deer has been constantly aggravating by the activities of human being and their livestock. This project was conducted in Gaurishankar Conservation Area and Sagarmatha National Park, Nepal with the aims of identifying the species of musk deer genetically, assess the habitat overlap of musk deer with other ungulates and livestock and assess the effect of anthropogenic effect on the habitat of musk deer.


BLAST results depicted that the species of musk deer found in Gaurishankar Conservation Area is closely matched with Moschus leucogaster and its phylogenetic study showed that it had closed clustered with Moschus leucogaster and formed with the genetic modification of this species over the time. There were 15% spatial habitat overlap of musk deer with Himalayan Thar and 37% with livestock in Gaurishankar conservation Area whereas it was only 24% habitat overlap mostly with domestic livestock mainly in the vicinity of human settlements. Musk deer habitat was mostly influenced by the human activities such as traditional cattle herding system, unsustainable fuelwood collection, over grazing and NTFPs collection.


In sum, identification of Musk deer (Moschus spp) genetically and its phylogenetic analysis is crucial to carry out conservation and management interventions in protected areas of Nepal. Human and their livestock activities such as unsustainable fuelwood cutting, cattle herding system and over grazing should be minimized at its habitat. Involvement of local community in sustainable biodiversity conservation and promotion of alternative livelihood activities can be a potential tool for the conservation of musk deer in protected areas of Nepal.


Project 13257839 location - Nepal, Asia