Hedgehogs From Madras Are Being poached For'medicine,' Which Is Causing Concern

Hedgehogs From Madras Are Being poached Formedicine, Which Is Causing Concern
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South Indian Hedgehog (Photo/newindianexpress)

Highlights

  • Madras Hedgehog or the South Indian Hedgehog, is being murdered in enormous numbers for use in traditional system of medicine.
  • To combat poaching, experts have asked for a population survey of the species and its inclusion in the Wildlife Act.

As per specialists, the small insectivorous mammal that resembles a pincushion with legs, known as the Madras Hedgehog or the South Indian Hedgehog, is being murdered in enormous numbers for use in traditional system of medicine.

The quills that develop in a thick covering on the back of the Paraechinus nudiventris, identical to those of the porcupine, are employed in Siddha and other local treatments, and are the primary reason for the animals' extinction. To combat poaching, experts have asked for a population survey of the species and its inclusion in the Wildlife Act.
The species is often located in the southern portion of the country and is recognised as mull-eli, which means "thorn-mouse." The animal's quills are dried, powdered, and combined with honey in historical medicine to treat coughs in various parts of Tamil Nadu.
D Raja Shankar, a Siddha doctor from Palayamkottai who has been practising for over two decades and said that they had been offering both quill powder and a thailam (balm) to people coming with cough. People who have taken the combination, he claims, have responded favourably and cured and further added that it can be administered to everyone, from an infant to the old, and they will be recovered.
Cattle owners and members of the public seize and slaughter of the creatures, according to Dr. Brawin Kumar of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Studies (IISER) in Tirupati, who leads investigations on the species.
Brawin stated that the Tamil Nadu Forest Department should take steps to determine its spread and population across the state. Similarly, the species should be included under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 to protect it from unrestricted poaching.
Meanwhile, the animals' deaths have been attributed to their usage in traditional medicine, habitat modification, road accidents, and other anthropogenic activities. Furthermore, according to Brawin and forest officials, there have been no official records on the population of Madras hedgehogs in the wild, making conservation difficult.

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