International Horseshoe Crab Day: Species under grave threat in Odisha 

#GS3 #Environment 

Horseshoe crabs face an uncertain future in Odisha, their largest habitat in India, even as the world celebrated the first-ever ‘International Horseshoe Crab Day’ on June 20, 2020. 

  • Horseshoe crabs in Odisha are in danger as poachers kill them for their meat, that is popularly believed to have aphrodisiac qualities. It is estimated that hundreds of horseshoe crabs have been killed in Odisha each year to supply their meat and shells to Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and other states. 
  • “It is believed that consumption of horseshoe crab meat can lengthen a person’s lifespan. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this. Many quacks also crush its carapace and mix it with water to prepare a paste, which is applied onto scars. It is shocking that the trade in horseshoe crabs is rampant in many states,” Siddhartha Pati, a noted horseshoe crab expert and director of Association for Biodiversity Conservation and Research of Odisha, said. 
  • Horseshoe crabs are picked from the seaside areas of Kendrapara, Balasore and Bhadrak districts and are sent to other states. But so far, agencies are yet to nab any horseshoe crab smuggler in the state, Pati added. 
  • The crackdown on horseshoe crab poachers requires superior, inter-state coordination among police and wildlife authorities of Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand and other states, he noted. 
  • We are doing conservation work with the fishing and coastal communities of Odisha and trying our best to convince them not to kill horseshoe crabs, he said. 
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