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Rishikesh

Himalayan Musk deer

Looking like a cross between a dog and a rabbit, this is the only deer with a gall bladder, a musk gland, all of it pointing to the deer being an evolutionary primitive. Called Kastura in Hindi, the deer stands not more than 50 cm at the shoulders and weighs only 13-15 kg.It can be identified by its thick brown coat, speckled with white on the flanks, white stockings and a bare tail which nestles in thick rump hair. The adult male has a gland under the abdominal skin that secretes musk. This is highly prized as an aphrodisiac and perfume and has led to large-scale poaching of this unusual creature.