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A BRUSH WITH DEATH: Nearly 100,000 Indian mongooses are killed every year for paintbrushes

The paint brushes are primarily used by artists looking for finesse in their work. Thus, resulting in the endangering of the mongoose species for the sake of finer brush strokes.

SIBI ARASU: ‘On the evening of Oct. 24, law enforcement officials kicked down doors of multiple factories and warehouses across six Indian states. The raids were the result of “Operation Clean Art,” a coordinated operation organised over two months by the wildlife crime control bureau (WCCB)… Officials seized 54,352 paintbrushes made out of mongoose hair and 113 kilograms of raw mongoose hair. Forty-three people were also arrested. This was the 28th operation by the WCCB to curb the illegal trade in mongoose hair in the past two decades.

This illegal trade is a thriving multi-crore industry that results in the death of thousands of mongooses across India every month. The brushes are primarily used by artists looking for finesse in their work, thus resulting in the endangering of the species for the sake of finer brush strokes… Many artists feel the mongoose hair brushes can hold a stroke well and they are also extremely durable,” said CP Krishnapriya, a Chennai-based artist who graduated from the city’s Government College of Fine Arts…

“For every kilogram of mongoose hair that is used in brushes, about 50 animals are killed. This is because only about 20 grams of good hair comes from every mongoose,” said HV Girisha, regional deputy director, WCCB, who was part of the operations… In 2019, up to 54,352 brushes and 113 kilograms of raw mongoose hair were recovered, and 49 people arrested… It is estimated that by the time one kilogram of pure mongoose hair is sold to the final buyer, it might be worth as much as Rs100,000. “We believe that at least 150 kilograms are produced every month, so this means up to 100,000 mongoose might be killed every year for their hair”…

It is widely believed by wildlife crime experts that this illegal trade on mongoose hair is having severe consequences on the animal’s population. “We won’t notice its disappearance because who really looks at mongoose, but one day they would suddenly just not be there,” said Jose Louies, chief of the wildlife crime control division at the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI)’SOURCE…

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