BENGALURU: Porcupine hunting continues unabated in the state, with many local and inter-state hunters killing these scheduled species in reserve forests and protected areas. Recently, nine porcupine hunters, along with two hunted animals, were caught by Chikkamagaluru range staff. Wildlife experts say that with rampant killing in India, this species will soon become an endangered one.
They added that hunters and tribal communities have mastered the technique to hunt these thorny animals. In fact, the natural prey of large wild cats, the great-horned owls, wolves and Indian striped hyenas is on the verge of disappearing in the coming decade. These mammals are ecologically very important and are responsible for pollination by transmitting pollen grains and seeds from place to place.
The inter-state hunters from Andhra Pradesh, who were caught recently, had killed one male and female porcupine each in Kalasapura Reserve Forest. To the amazement of the department, these hunters had been hired by Karnataka Fisheries Development Corporation for removal of eucalyptus stumps in the Nilgiri plantations.
The nine offenders were arrested and a case has been booked by the state forest department under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. They were remanded to 14 days of judicial custody by the Chikkamagaluru JMFC court on July 9.Porcupines are hunted both for its meat, superstitious beliefs and ritualistic purposes. In fact, the quills are used in some Hindu rituals. Wildlife activist G Veeresh said, “With porcupines being relentlessly hunted, we may soon see its classification from the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species to the endangered list. Further, the forest department is not doing much to protect this species or educate people on the need for its conservation.”