Dehradun: Dehradun-based Maaty Organization, in association with USERC, has pledged to observe the wildlife week by organizing photography and video making competitions on the theme, “Sustaining all life in Earth”. Besides the competitions, the organization will also bring out special issues on various protected wildlife, each day.
Today’s issue has been written by Ms. Shefali Rana and Dr. Ankita Rajput
Today’s protected wildlife: Mongoose
Today, on the first day of this wildlife week, some interesting facts about Mongoose and its current status
Mongooses are one of the most common seen species around us which is long, furry creatures with a pointed face and a bushy tail. Despite popular belief, mongooses are not rodents. They are members of the Herpestidae family, which also includes civets and meerkats.
Habitat and Habits
There are 34 species of mongoose found in Africa, but some also live in southern Asia. India harbors six species i.e. Indian Grey Mongoose, Ruddy Mongoose, Small Indian Mongoose, Crab-eating Mongoose, Stripe-Necked Mongoose, Brown Mongoose. There are two species seen throughout India i.e. Small Indian Mongoose and Indian Grey Mongoose which were adapted to different climates.
The increasing number of cases of illegal trafficking of mongoose, it is a Matter of concern?
Mongooses live in burrows made of a complex system of tunnels or in trees. There are generally found in two colors i.e. Grey and Black. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), most mongoose species are listed as threatened, but not extinct. Mongoose protected under Schedule II (Part II) of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, which prohibits all trade of animals listed in it. As many of us don’t know that the paintbrushes we use were generally made from Mongoose hairs. Killing thousands of mongooses has largely gone unnoticed. It takes the lives of 50 animals for one kilogram of hair. Each mongoose yields around 40 grams of hair, out of which only 20 grams can be used to make brushes.The raw hair comes from various parts of the country but the manufacturing is restricted mostly to Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh, and some in parts of West Bengal and Tamil Nadu. The brushes made from mongoose hair were smuggled and exported out of India as well as via Nepal and Bangladesh. The trade-in these hairbrushes is significantly different from that in rhino horns and tiger pelts. Their end users are widespread and, in most cases, they don’t know the hairbrushes are illegal. A major manufacturer of mongoose hair paintbrushes has been fined Rs 5 lakh for illegally obtaining mongoose hair and manufacturing mongoose hair brushes, according to wildlife officials.
Mongooses: Need to Protect
Artists and the general public need to know this and stop using brushes made from mongoose hair. As of now, sales are only going up and this is a big cause for concern. It is high time to think about and to get aware of it.
Ms. Shefali Rana is a Research Fellow and Dr. Ankita Rajput is a Scientist in the Maaty Organization, Dehradun