mid-day editorial: Kill superstition to kill poachers

Apr 07, 2018, 06:05 IST | mid-day Correspondent

With the Salman Khan case throwing the spotlight on poaching, it is the apt time to highlight a recent report in this paper with reference to tiger skins

With the Salman Khan case throwing the spotlight on poaching, it is the apt time to highlight a recent report in this paper with reference to tiger skins. The report detailed that at the beginning of this week, the Vitthalwadi police issued a press note saying they had arrested two people with a tiger skin in their possession. The skin, though, is believed to be of some other animal, which had been painted with stripes, to dupe the customer. Now, the Forest Department is going to send the skin to a forensic lab for confirmation.

While there is an urgent need for better co-ordination between forest officials and the police, with the former being the experts when it comes to verifying the remains of an animal, the demand for animal skins is also a pointer that society needs a dose of rationalism rather than superstition.

We see a great demand for tiger and leopard skins in the black market, as there are various myths attached to them. The prime amongst these is that tiger skin brings good luck. When superstition abounds and importance is attached to myths rather than reality, fraudsters have a field day. Superstition and irrational beliefs make us obdurate in defence and clouds logic. We do not wish to believe an alternative reality, which may be less glamorous, less comforting. That explains why rationalists are targeted, because they puncture illogic and hit the conmen feeding into fear and vulnerability, economically.

The craving for animal skins, tusks of elephants and other parts to show off as prize catches or to dispel myths will lessen with rationalism, awareness and strict laws. Meanwhile, co-operation and co-ordination between two agencies will strengthen the arm dealing with nabbing poachers, animal skin sellers, buyers and of course, fraudsters for whom this is a fertile market.

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