BBC Wildlife Magazine

Golden jackals in India poached for their mythical ‘horns’

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According to a report by the Wild Canids India Project, golden jackals are being poached in order for their ‘horns’ to then be traded. Jackals do not have horns, but locals believe that a deformity in the canid’s skull, thought to be present in one in a thousand jackals, creates this horn.

The use of jackal horn, known locally as siyar singhi, has been promoted by black magic practition­ers and some South Asian astrologer­s. Consumers of jackal horn believe it is a living entity, even after extracted from the dead animal.

Between 2013 and 2019, Indian officials seized over 400 of these horns, despite golden jackals being a protected species in India. While demand for this product mostly comes from Asia, the researcher­s found that

online retailers in the UK, US and Germany were listing jackal horn for sale.

However, these online products were likely fake, according to researcher Arjun Srivathsa: “The online trade market for jackal horn also consists of fake horns, made of dog or goat hair glued together into a ball,” he explains.

“Our findings suggest that the internet-mediated trade crosses internatio­nal boundaries and may involve a larger network of local, regional and internatio­nal participan­ts,” adds lead author Malaika Mathew Chawla.

Niki Rust

FIND OUT MORE Wild Canids India Project: bit.ly/jackalhorn

 ??  ?? As well as their so-called horns, golden jackals are also poached for their meat and other body parts.
As well as their so-called horns, golden jackals are also poached for their meat and other body parts.

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