India is a country that is considered to have abundance in wildlife that can be hunted under certain conditions.
Contrary to popular belief that hunting in India, or hunting in general, is greatly associated with aggression and violence, hunting, most of the time, is done as a wildlife control measure.
In this instance, hunting may work to prevent the spread of a particular disease. It can also ensure the prevention of overcrowding of a certain species in a geographical area that cannot adequately sustain a large population of the species.
With this in mind, hunting can be described as the pursuit of animals for recreation, trade and food within the legal framework or applicable law of a country.
Historically, India’s rich and diverse wildlife attracted many hunters over the centuries. Alongside the natives, they seasonally hunted some species for fun, cultural reasons as well as a measure which would make sure the protection of the human population that lives within the same environment as some of the dangerous and predaceous animals.
The use of guns has been noted to be the most popular hunting method within India.
Due to the realization of the imminent extinction of some species, hunting in India is permitted only in:
- Cases where an animal is dangerous to the human population
- Cases where an animal is completely disabled
- Cases where an animal is too diseased to recover
Furthermore, hunting in India is also permitted under instances that involve the destruction of property following an animal attack. The killing of an animal in self-defense is also permitted. It is worth noting, however, that the body or remains of the animal killed remains the property of the government and no-one has the right to use it for profit.
Despite the rule of law, some traditions of a number of the indigenous people require that hunting continue as part of various cultural rituals.
Among the most highly targeted animals for hunting purposes is the Indian tiger.
Historically and presently considered to be a courageous and manly venture, tiger hunting in India was done on horseback, foot, from Machans or on elephant back.
Advancements in weaponry saw to the destruction of the vast numbers of tigers. The introduction of gun power among hunting aristocrats during the British Raj era saw the once thriving numbers of tigers reduce from approximately forty thousand to a mere 1,800.
Other animals that have been noted to be the most popular among hunters include:
- The Asian elephant
- Water buffalo
- Gaur (the largest bovine worldwide)
- The black, brown and sloth bears
Why illegal hunting in India is so popular- The little known facts
In order to comprehend the key reasons why hunting in India has remained popular, one needs to understand that the great profitability and prestige that accompanies.
To most hunters, the bigger and more dangerous the game being hunted, the higher the achievement or satisfaction awarded to the hunter.
Therefore, among the top reasons why hunting in India remains a popular activity are:
Only slightly smaller than white rhino, the Indian rhino is larger than the black rhino and is considered to be very large and dangerous animal to hunt for sport as well as for its much sought after tusks.
The Indian elephant, especially the male Indian elephant, is known for their ill-tempered nature and deadly instinctive reactions which has been known to increase the level of excitement during hunting.
The Indian tiger, leopard, lion and bear, although much smaller and quicker than the rhinos and elephants, are considered to be among the top deadliest animals in the world.
With strong and extremely muscular jaws, tigers and leopards are renowned for their man eating habits and are therefore hunted under the guise of being a threat to human life.
Inability on the government’s part to adequately carry out the law about wildlife conservation.
It is worth noting that the Indian government’s enforcement machinery has, more or less, been solely designed to cope with local level issues.
With the advancements in technology and sophistication in hunting methods, the government has been unable to protect and isolate the trade of the hunted animal bones, skins and various body parts
In conclusion, although illegal under normal circumstances, hunting in India has been noted to be a highly lucrative business that the Indian government has been unable to curb.
The Indian tiger population has been the most affected with the few remaining numbers being forced to live on wildlife conservation areas for protection.
For the scourge to end, it is imperative that the government apply and adhere strictly to the law and guarantee harsh punishments for those hunting illegally.