THE Adlife Protection Act, 1991, bans
the trade of wild animals and its related
products. Despite this, a trade in antlers
of sambar and cheetal is still continuing
with the official sanction in Uttar
Pradesh. Sources say that a number of
forest divisions have been identified
from where the shed antlers can be collected.
All deer species shed their antlers annually which are replaced by new ones. The shed antlers are largely made of calcium and are eaten by porcupines whose faecal matter contains a high level of the substance. This faecal matter enriches the soil considerably.
The collection of antlers reduces the calcium content in the soil. This has also encouraged poaching, as there are hardly any officers at the collection sites to ascertain whether the collected antlers are shed ones or have been procured after killing the deer. Sources say that the licensed dealers of these centres in all probability collect the antlers from national parks where the population of the deer is high.
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