Envis Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Monday, February 26, 2024

Crops at risk as small animals get poached











Tamilnadu: Unabated poaching of monitor lizards and pangolins in Tamil Nadu will disrupt the food chain in the animal kingdom and affect human beings -and the early pinch is being felt in parts of Salem, researchers in the state say.


Recently, five peafowls were poisoned at a village in Salem district after they raided a farmland. Locals poisoned the grains on which the birds fed and died. The frequent raids, say researchers, indicate that the number of peafowls in the state has gone up.



Wildlife activists say poaching of pangolin and monitor lizards have put at risk the crops. An Ooty based conservationist said pangolins feed on ants and termite mounds and eat various insects that damage crops in farmlands. Monitor lizards feed on snakes and peafowl eggs laid in the bushes. Both keep a check on the population of snakes and usual crop-raiders. But rampant poaching of these animals has let the peafowls and insects flourish.


Pangolins, which are hunted for their scales, are trapped on a large scale at the Kolli hills and its surrounding areas. From there these animals are taken to Thuraiyur in Trichy, considered the hub for the trade. Traders check for the quality of the scales and when satisfied pay the poachers. Sources said, traders prefer to buy healthy pangolins and if they are not satisfied, the animal's meat becomes a source of income for the poachers.


TRAFFIC, a wildlife crime prevention wing of the World Wide Fund for Nature - India, head Shekhar Kumar Niraj said after they received reports about rampant poaching of monitor lizard and pangolin, they re quested the Convention on International Trade on Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) to include pangolins under the CITES category . The countries which are part of CITES do not allow trade of pangolins or its body parts.Despite this effort, the demand the illegal trade network has flourished, Niraj said.



Another wildlife researcher said the demand for searcher said the demand for pangolin is high in the international circuit, monitor lizards are sought after locally. Many people believe that its blood will enhance their potency. Monitor lizards are caught from forests located close to the Karnataka border, the researcher said. People from Karnataka are said to come to the border and buy the blood of the animal for pretty sums.








Source: The Times of India