- Chenchus believe that beginning the day by seeing the face of the fox is a fortune and thus they have domesticated foxes.
- However, the conservation of fox falls under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act 1972, according to which hunting or domesticating it is an offence and attracts punishment.
About Wildlife Protection Act, 1972
- The act provides protection to plants as well as animal species.
- It extends to the whole of India, except the State of Jammu and Kashmir which has its own wildlife act.
- It has six schedules which give varying degrees of protection.
- Schedule I and part II of Schedule II : provide absolute protection – offences under these are prescribed the highest penalties.
- Schedule III and Schedule IV : Species under these schedules are also protected, but the penalties are much lower.
- Schedule V : includes the animals which may be hunted.
- Schedule VI: includes endemic plants which are prohibited from cultivation and planting.
About Indian Fox/ Bengal fox
- Its distribution is in entire India right from the Himalayas till the southernmost point of India- Cape Comorin.
- The Indian Fox prefers to keep to the open countryside rather than the forest areas.
- It is found in areas next to the villages preferably in the cultivated fields and the bunds bordering the water channels.
- IUCN Status of Indian Fox: Least Concern
- Habitat and Ecology: Grassland and Scrubland
- Population trend: Decreasing
- Major threats:
- Habitat loss
- Hunting & trapping
- Viral/prion-induced diseases
Note: Other Species of Fox found is India is the Red Fox (found in the Himalayan ranges and in the North-Western fringes of the dry desert zone). It’s IUCN status is also Least concern,
About Chenchu Tribe
- The Chenchus are an aboriginal tribe, mainly inhabiting the Nallamala forest range spread across four to five districts in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh states.
- They are a conservative tribal group and have not made many changes in their lifestyle or tried to adapt to modernity.
- The Chenchus still go for hunting rather than farming.
- They sell the meat for the livelihood.
- The Chenchus collect jungle products like roots, fruits, tubers, beedi leaf, mohua flower, honey, gum, tamarind and green leaves and make a meagre income of it by selling these to traders and government co-operatives.
- Origin: The Origin of Chenchu is connected to Lord Malikarjuna of the Srisailim temple.
- Language: They speak in Chenchu language with Telugu Accent.
- Religion/God: Largely they follow hinduism (97.63%). Chenchus mainly believe in Bhagaban taru who lives in the sky and look after the Chenchus in all their doings. They also worship Lord Shiva, Hanuman, Goddess of Fire for their safety and prosperity.
- Social Living Pattern:
- Penta is the name given by Chenchus to their villages.
- One penta consists of a few huts that are grouped together based on the kinship pattern.
- The village elder is named as ‘Peddamanishi’ and is generally responsible for maintaining order and harmony within the family as well as in the village as a whole.