Jackals, those tricksters of our folktales, are poached too, but for reasons entirely different from charismatic species
Most of the media focus on wildlife poaching in India revolves around charismatic species like tigers, elephants and rhinos for use of their body parts in traditional Chinese medicine. A new study has revealed that a species like the jackal too is poached in India, though for entirely different reasons. Photo: Goutham Shankar
The study titled ‘Do wildlife crimes against less charismatic species go unnoticed? A case study of Golden Jackal Canis aureus Linnaeus, 1758 poaching and trade in India’ was conducted as part of the Wild Canids–India Project (www.wildcanids.net), and published in the Journal of Threatened Taxa. Photo: Shubhankar Dey
The study found that a large part of the trade in jackal parts is driven by the demand for ‘jackal horn’, a boney cone-shaped outgrowth which can occasionally grow on the skulls of golden jackals. It is associated with magical powers in the Indian Subcontinent and is known as ‘Siyar Singhi’ in Hindi or ‘Nari Kombu’ in Tamil/Kannada/Telugu. Photo: Dalip Sharma
The study authors collected publicly available information from government seizure data, news reports, social media posts, blogs and e-commerce platforms to create a repository of jackal hunting, poaching and trade incidences from 2013 to 2019. The study revealed that 126 skins, 8 tails, more than 370 ‘jackal horns’, 16 skulls and two live jackals were seized by the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau. Photo: Ramki Sreenivasan
Demand based on superstitious and ritualistic beliefs points to a largely ignored threat to India’s wildlife that similarly targets monitor lizards, pangolins, leopards, musk deer, snakes, owls and other species besides jackals. Photo: Sheila Castelino
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