BBC Wildlife Magazine
Golden jackals in India poached for their mythical ‘horns’
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.
FIND OUT MORE Wild Canids India Project: bit.ly/jackalhorn