Envis Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Concern over rise in mongoose numbers










Kannur: It is a commonly seen slender carnivore that roams around in human settlements as well as in undisturbed forests. And, probably that is the reason why the increasing population of the Indian Grey Mongoose, which is not an apparent threat to the human beings, is not a matter of concern for us. But this unnoticed population explosion should be seen in a wider perspective because it is an indication that there is some problem with the ecological equilibrium and some links in the food chain are affected, say experts. 




Though the mongooses live in our surroundings, they are no longer afraid of human beings, and their eating habits have also changed, according to wildlife enthusiast Vijay Neelakantan, who closely observes the change in the nature of these creatures. 




"This is a warning signal that calls for serious studies because the increase in the population of any species would affect the nature's equilibrium," he said, adding that the increase has been visible for the last three to four years. 




"Incidentally, it has started eating even vegetables, which is rare, and it is time to take some measures to find what has gone wrong with our ecological balance," he said. 




If the mongoose population increases, it might be a threat for snakes, as snakes and rats are the main food for them. And, once the snake population decreases, it will naturally result in the increase in the population of rats, which will again attract mongoose, he said. 




Though people used to kill mongoose earlier, for various purposes including taking its hair for making brushes, now after the stringent wildlife conservation measures, they are not killed. Also, they are on the 'red list' of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), though they are not facing any threat. 




Incidentally, the increase in the mongoose population should also be seen from the angle of waste management, said Sajikumar V, wildlife warden, Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary. 




"Earlier, dogs used to kill and eat mongoose, but now they don't do so, apparently because 'sufficient garbage' is available. So, the failure in waste management should also be seen as a reason for the increasing population of mongoose," he said.









Source:  The Times of India