What is the issue ?
- Karnataka has witnessed an unprecedented rise in the number of porcupine killings by local and inter-state hunters threatening to relegate the species to endangered category of conservation if not contained.
What is happening ?
- Hunters and tribal communities have mastered techniques to hunt down porcupines for consumption as well as medicinal use.
- A market exists for quills and claws, sellers even offer them on the notorious online selling platforms. These are used for jewellery, fly fishing ties, decorations and religious symbols.
- Habitat loss, due to construction of dams, livestock grazing, adds to the toll. They are shot by sport hunters, poisoned and often killed while crossing the road.
About the porcupine :
- The Indian crested porcupine (Hystrix indica), is native to southern Asia and the Middle East. Its name in Latin means Quill Pig
- Indian Porcupine is a large species of rodent found throughout India and central Asia. The Indian crested porcupine is nocturnal and lives in wide range of habitats including grasslands, forests, plantations and gardens.
- Currently placed in 'Threatnened' category of IUCN's Red List.
About IUCN's Red List :
- IUCN Red List is developed on precise criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of thousands of species and subspecies.
- These criteria are relevant to all species in all regions of the world.
- The aim is to convey the urgency of conservation issues to the public and policy makers, as well as help the international community to try to reduce species extinction.
Categories and their meaning :
Extinct (EX) :
- A taxon is extinct when there is no reasonable doubt that the last individual has died.
- A taxon is presumed extinct when exhaustive surveys in known or expected habitat at appropriate times, throughout its historic range have failed to record an individual.
Extinct in the wild (EW) :
- A taxon is extinct in the wild when it is known only to survive in captivity or as a naturalised population well outside the past range.
- A taxon is presumed extinct in the wild when exhaustive surveys in known or expected habitat, at appropriate times and throughout its historic range have failed to record an individual.
Critically Endangered (CR) :
- A taxon is CR when it is facing an extremely high risk of extinction the wild in the immediate future.
Endangered (EN) :
- A taxon is endangered when it is not critically endangered but is facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild in the near future.
Vulnerable (VU) :
- A taxon is vulnerable when it is not CR or EN but is facing a high risk of extinction in the wild medium-term future
Near Threatened (NT) :
- A taxon is near threatened when it has been evaluated against the criteria but does not qualify for CR,EN or VU but is close to qualifying for or likely to qualify for a threatnened category in the near future.
Least Concern (LC) :
- A taxon is Least Concern when it has been evaluated against the criteria but does not qualify for CR,EN, VU or NT.
- Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category.