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Wildlife crimes pertaining to lesser-known species do not usually garner adequate focus or interest by enforcement and conservation agencies. Additionally, illegal wildlife trade fuelled by religious beliefs in sorcery and superstition is an oft-neglected field of research. To draw attention to these two broad issues, we provide a baseline analysis of open-source reports on Golden Jackal Canis aureus poaching and trade in India. We highlight the pervasiveness of an active local and transnational â€˜jackal hornâ€™ trade, which is severely under-reported and insufficiently researched. News reports and government seizure data reveal that, between 2013 and 2019, 126 skins, eight tails, more than 370 â€˜jackal hornsâ€™, 16 skulls and two live jackals have been seized. The demand for the illusionary â€˜jackal hornâ€™ appears to be driven by extensive online endorsement and unsubstantiated claims made by religious practitioners, targeted primarily at south Asian markets. This preliminary study is an urgent call for concerted efforts to monitor the illegal trafficking and trade of this common species, with a particular focus on the demand and supply chains.
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