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As of right now, hunting animals for food is just a fact of life. People do it for many reasons — the worst being for sport, while others do it just to feed their families. When people enjoy eating the animals they hunt, its even harder to convince them it’s not the right thing to do, so it’s beyond bizarre that the thin-spined porcupine is being threatened by hunters in Brazil, when it apparently doesn’t even taste good!

The “terrible” tasting thin-spined porcupine is also known as the bristle-spined rat and is considered vulnerable by the IUCN Red List. Mongabay.com describes thin-spined porcupines as a cross between “New World porcupines and spiny rats with genetic research.” However, they are actually quite a unique type of porcupine, being the only sub-species with bristle like quills on their backs.

These animals can only be in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil, where they live along forest edges, feeding on leaves.

Yet, one day soon thin-spined porcupines might never been seen again. According to a recent study published in Mongabay.com’s open access journal “Tropical Conservation Science,” these porcupines are routinely over-hunted even as their habitat dwindles and becomes increasingly fragmented.

Through interviews, the study found that many people who live in the same area as thin-spined porcupines cannot actually identify them easily, which leaves them easy prey for exploitative activities.

And this is exactly what’s happening, according to the study. Researchers report that the thin-spined porcupine’s largest threats include hunting for food, hunting for medicinal uses, habitat destruction, and even the exotic pet trade.

The lack of awareness among locals in the area is a large factor in the lack of conservation efforts. If the people can’t even identify the thin-spined porcupine, then how can they try and conserve the population? The best solution to help protect this dwindling species is education. Since locals are misidentifying the thin-spined porcupine, it is feasible to say that a good many of them only eat the animal because it was a hunting mistake and not because they enjoyed the taste.

Who would have thought an unpleasant tasting animal has to worry about becoming endangered due to being hunting? And who would have thought we would have to persuade people to stop eating such an unpleasant tasting animal in the first place! Ridiculous!

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

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