Golden jack­als in In­dia poached for their myth­i­cal ‘horns’

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Wild News -

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.

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