Porcupines wreak havoc in Budgam orchards

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Srinagar- Himalayan porcupines have wreaked havoc in orchards and fields of Budgam by peeling the bark of apple, almond and other trees in addition to damaging vegetables and eating saffron seeds .

A group of Budgam farmers told Kashmir Observer that a high presence of wild rodent porcupines caused enormous damage to the orchards.

They allege that no action has been taken by the government to catch the porcupines and take them to their original habitats.

“We are very worried. The porcupine population has increased and they mainly attack the crop at night, when no one is available in the orchards, ”said Ali Mohammad Malik, a saffron grower from Budgam district in central Kashmir.

Those most affected are those living in Charar-e-Sharief, Hafroo Batpora, Nagam and other villages in Budgam.

Malik maintains that the trees would have died within the next few months. It takes decades to grow trees, but these animals come to fish for them at night. The government should wake up now, ”he added.

According to reports, porcupines prefer to eat the bark or nutrient phloem of the indoor tree. To reach the phloem, they remove the bark up to the inner layer of the tree, where the wood begins.

The animal also began to damage orchards and crops last year. However, wildlife authorities have issued a notice to the orchards and asked them to spray pepper and protect the fruit trees to prevent damage.

Farmers have also been advised to use poultry fillets to make a guard and for small trees, farmers can use pepper.

However, Malik says the reviews don’t seem to be working now as the animal still manages to damage trees and crops.

Ifshan Dewan, wildlife manager, Wetlands Kashmir told Kashmir Observer that the department is in contact with the horticulture department to see what can be done.

“As such, there is no such effect but we will always see what to do,” she told Kashmir Observer.

When asked if the ministry could kill or capture the rodents, she replied “it’s not easy to do that. As such, we have no provisions”

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Auqib Javeed

Auqib Javeed is special correspondent with Kashmir Observer and tweets @AuqibJaveed

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