'Chousingha' or Four-horned "Antelope" (4HA), as called in French, is falling prey to illegal poaching and trading, bringing to fore one more instance of man-animal conflict, wildlife experts say.
Present throughout India, 4HA can be found mainly in Woodlands with thick vegetation, near streams and rivers. It is poached mainly for its skin, flesh and the horns.
Experts feel the dwindling number of the species, though not cautionary now, could be dismal if the killing goes on unhindered.
"It is protected under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 and is kept in the Schedule I along with species like Tiger, Leopard, Swamp Deer and Musk Deer. As far as IUCN is concerned, the Four-horned is classified as 'Vulnerable', which denotes species whose populations are not under immediate threat, but are at risk of declining," says Kaustubh Sharma, a wildlife expert with the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), about the conservation status of the species.
To define the contours of the threat to the animal, which is more or less sedentary and inhabits the same place all through its life, what required is 'an extensive survey to help chalk out a plan of action to protect it in the long run,' he says.
"Conducting a wide survey throughout the historic range of distribution of 4HA and assessing their population and status, is the need of the hour", adds Sharma.