Shopian: Amid havoc caused by the growing porcupine population in south and central Kashmir districts where the rodents have eaten barks of hundreds of fruit trees, wildlife and horticulture experts have a remedy to keep not only porcupines but all rodents at bay.
Experts advise growing of Irises (Mazaar Monji) in the orchards where the porcupine attacks are frequent. “It’s a natural remedy to keep the rodents away from orchards. It’s a plant that one can see in graveyards, where it keeps rats and other rodents away from the graves,” said Intizar Suhail, Wildlife Warden Shopian.
Irises planted this season will grow by next year and provide protection to the fruit trees, Suhail said.
He also said that it’s true that the porcupine population has grown. “While the porcupine population has grown, so has the spread of orchards, which attract these rodents,” he said.
Suhail said that his department has given a tree guard design to the horticulture department to save trees from such attacks. “They should also spray pepper on the trees, which is a natural deterrence to the porcupine,” he said.
Yung fruit trees provide sap in good quantity to the porcupine, he said. “The porcupine is a prolific breeder and it is mainly found in dry kareva lands. But with the widespread growth of orchards, this rodent has been attracted to lower areas too,” he said.
Horticulture experts say that besides growing of irises, orchardists whose trees are vulnerable to such attacks can also grow garlic, black pepper, rosemary, onions and tomatoes in their orchards.
In south Kashmir, incidents of porcupines eating away the bark from fruit trees are being reported from Rohmoo, Tujan, Kamrazipora, Goosu, Frasipora, Koil, Malangpora, Renzipora, Wasoora and other adjoining areas.
The attacks are not new but with the rise in porcupine population, they have also risen, leaving hundreds of young trees dead.