By M.D. Madhusudan
Hunting wildlife for the pot and for commercial sale is far more widespread than most people realize, and is leading to an ‘empty forest’ syndrome in many parts of the country. M.D. Madhusudan and K. Ullas Karanth conducted a fascinating study on local hunting around two wildlife reserves in Karnataka. These are the results of their study, excerpted from their original scientific paper published in Ambio in 2002.
- Mammals that weigh over one kilo are the most prone to hunting by humans.
- Their meat and by-products – hide, horn, and bone – make large mammals attractive targets.On the other hand, these mammals are vulnerable to extinction—they naturally require large home ranges and bulky diets, have slow rates of growth and maturation, small litter sizes, long life-spans, and are found in low densities.
- Excessive hunting could well push vulnerable populations over the brink.
There are two distinct types of hunting in India:
- The first, market hunting, refers to the well-organized hunting of selected species for ivory, rhino-horn, tiger-bone, bear-bile, shahtoosh, etc.
- The second, local hunting, is a loosely organized activity, prevalent everywhere. It is driven by local tradition, sport, or demand for wild meat. Local hunting is a big threat to Indian wildlife, since it targets a wider variety of species, and is carried out by far greater numbers of people. More....