Paint brushes, the biggest threat to mongoose

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Kolkata, Dec 19 (PTI) That beautiful painting you saw at an art gallery last week may be 'blood-stained' as thousands of mongoose are mercilessly killed each year to make paintbrushes from the animal's hair.
Eminent painter Sanatan Dinda, who has sketched for the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, admits that unlike him many artists are not aware of the story behind the brush they use.
"It is a very old tradition to use mongoose brushes. Nowadays the awareness for conservation has increased but lot of artists still insist on using it because it is soft and absorbs colour very well," he told PTI.
Dinda has now joined hands with the Society for Heritage & Ecological Researches (SHER) and the American Center, Kolkata, to become part of a 'Save the Mongoose' campaign.
Dr Shekhar Kumar Niraj, head of TRAFFIC-India, a wildlife trade monitoring network, points out that thousands of mongoose are killed all over the country each year to meet the demand for paintbrush hair.
It is estimated that to obtain one kg of mongoose hair at least 50 animals are killed.
The illicit trade thrives particularly in states like Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Bihar.
Hunting communities either shoot them or lay a trap after which they are beaten to death so that their hair can be extracted for commercial use. PTI