Porcupines Wreak Havoc On Budgam Orchards

  File Photo

Srinagar- The Himalayan porcupines have wreaked havoc on orchards and fields in Budgam by peeling the bark of apple, almond and other trees besides damaging vegetables and eating corns of saffron.

A group of farmers from Budgam told Kashmir Observer that a heavy presence of wild rodent porcupines, have caused huge damage to the orchards.

They allege that no steps were taken by government to catch the porcupines and take them to their original habitats.

“We are very much worried. The population of the porcupines have  increased and they mainly attack the crop during the night when no one is available in the Orchards,” said Ali Mohammad Malik, a Saffron grower from Central Kashmir’s Budgam district.

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

Malik maintains that the the trees would be dead in the coming months.”It takes decades to grow trees but these animals come and fish it off with a night. The govt should wake up now” he added.

According to reports, porcupines prefer to eat the nutritious inner tree bark or phloem. To get to the phloem, they remove the bark all the way down to the inner layer of the tree, where the wood begins.

The animal started damaging the orchards and the crop in last year also, however, the Wildlife authorities issued the advisory to the orchardists  and asked them to spray pepper and guard fruit trees to avoid the damage.

The farmers were also asked to use poultry mesh for making a guard and for small trees farmers can use pepper.

However, Malik says they the advisories seems not to be working now as the animal still manage to damage the tress and the crops.

Ifshan Dewan, Wildlife Warden, Wetlands Kashmir told Kashmir Observer that the department is in touch with the Horticulture department  to see what can be done.

"As such there is no such effect but we will still see what to do," she told Kashmir Observer.

When asked whether the department can kill or capture the rodents, she said "it's not easy to do that. As such we don't have any provision"

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Auqib Javeed

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

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