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Last Updated: Friday, 19 August 2005, 16:04 GMT 17:04 UK
Porcupines raise thorny questions in Kenya
Porcupines are wreaking havoc with Kenyan farmers' crops and upsetting the ancestors, but not everyone is complaining.

Porcupine in Kenya (MARK BOULTON)
The spiky creatures only come out at night

Residents of Kenya's central Kiambu district are calling on the government and the Kenya Wildlife Service to do more to contain the invasion by the porcupines, or "nungunungu" as they are called in Swahili.

The farmers say that their maize crops have been so badly damaged by the spiky pests that they can only use it to feed cattle.

They no longer have the crops that they expected to eat, and neither do they have the crops they hoped to sell.


Senior Nairobi National Park warden, Mr Amboga, told the BBC that the KWS was carrying out night patrols to halt the porcupine infestations.

However, he said that the porcupines were not really a big problem.

Porcupines represent strength in some Ghanaian cultures. Remember the Porcupine Warriors (Asante Kotoko) football club?
Andy Asamoah, Ghana

"The big problem in Kiambu is elephants which come and destroy the farms," he said.

Kiambu residents, however, are not reassured. They say the pests are reproducing at a rapid rate and no-one has figured out how to stop them.

They have tried digging ditches and trenches around their fields to stop the pillagers.

One said: "They cannot go through trenches but because of the general area that we live in; we cannot have the trenches everywhere - the trenches are a danger risk to our children.

Delicacy or disease?

"And so they come. And when they do, they destroy all of our crops.

"We have not harvested much for two years."

The spiky rodents haven't stopped there though.

They have started burrowing in local graveyards and as they dig holes to live in, they are also exhuming human remains, causing great distress.

"The porcupines are against our culture - once someone dies we just want them to rest peacefully," one man said.

For some in the area though, the creatures have not been received with anger.

They are the new delicacy.

This worries doctors and local councillor Alfred Thiarara.

"Knowing very well if you have seen a porcupine, you will know that they are covered with fleas - I worry there will be an outbreak of disease," he said.

Following the broadcast of this story on the BBC's Network Africa programme, several text messages were received proving that one man's meat is another man's poison.

Larrie Maskini in Uganda texted: "Kenya send those disturbing porcupines to Uganda. They will surely be dead and happily stomached before they dig half a grave!"

What do you think? How would you deal with a porcupine infestation? If you think porcupines are a delicacy, send us your recipe. Send your comments using the form below.

This forum is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Your comments:

My dear Kenyan brothers back at home, why don't we beat the porcupines at their own game by playing it their way? Let's grow maize specifically to feed them and then harvest them instead of the maize! You can all see the international market below! After all the price of maize is not good and we can't export as much as we could export porcupine! Imagine this headline: Porcupine meat beats tea as the leading Kenyan export! "Nungunungu Hoyeeeee!"
Peter Ndichu Karanja, University of Western Cape, South Africa

They do come with their own toothpicks.
Neil Small, Scotland

Porcupine meat can probably be sold at much higher value than crops. Try to capture the porcupines and find ways to distribute them. Don't forget not to capture too many of them. Leave some so they can reproduce for later.
Peter Jai, Bangkok, Thailand

Maybe we had more in common with Nigeria than with Dayton
Amanda, Minneapolis

Lovell Davis (below) from Dayton's comment made me laugh. Any dog or coyote with half a brain knows not to mess with a porcupine - and if not, it learns quickly after it gets a painful mouthful of quills. I also thought it was funny to hear people call porcupine bush meat.

I grew up in south-central Ohio and though porcupine was rare, I knew people who hunted and ate squirrel, rabbit, even possum on one occasion - I keep thinking "it's not bush meat, it's just hunting!" Well, maybe we had more in common with Nigeria than with Dayton.
Amanda, Minneapolis, MN

The BBC should collect all of these recipes and suggestions to print a cook book or website on Porcupine Cuisine. This almost makes me want to go hunt around in my back yard...
Justin, New York City, USA

Gee... this is turning to be the most interesting story I have read on BBC for ages! A good humorous change from the gloomy war, coups, corruption and hunger stories from Africa. Viva porcupines!
Peter Karanja, Cape Town, South Africa

My Kenyan brothers, why don't you use the local ways in capturing these creatures as the ones you use to capture livestock thieves?
Upendo Emmanuel, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

There was hedgehog flavour crisps when I was a kid
Michael Shaw, Sheffield

Comments about the English eating porcupines in WWII might be mistaking a porcupine for a British creature called a hedgehog. A much smaller creature found wild in southern England. There was hedgehog flavour crisps when I was a kid. Very nice! As a rule, us Brits don't eat hedgehogs. Like foxes they are generally seen as animals to leave be.
Michael Shaw, Sheffield, UK

All I can say is send all the porcupines up here. All we have is seals and polar bears to eat. Porcupines would make a nice change.
Steven Seagal, Inuit Native Alaska

What? Porcupines for oil? No way! We Nigerian will volunteer to travel to Kenya to make a meal of those yummy porcupines as a favour for a good harvest. I must say porcupine meat is vvveeeerryyy delicious, the Kenyans don't know what they are missing.
Another friend of Kenyans, London, England

Honestly, porcupines are good source of food when it comes to bush meat. Frankly speaking, it will not be good to look at them destroying the works of man. My suggestion is that the individual should fight back by setting traps for them, here in Oru (a town in Nigeria) there's a trap called wire, it is very good, I am willing to mail them they way to do it if they desire.

Wire is not the type that will harm children and it will prevent the porcupines from entering by blocking the available way. Kenya's government should also rise to the occasion and help the farmers out of this trouble. If they are left alone to face the problem it may lead to shortage of food in Kenya. A stitch in time saves nine.
Adebayo Olusegun, Ijebu-Oru, Nigeria

Have you heard of a creature from Japan called a pocari? Similar in origins to the South American pecari (or possibly peceri) but with spikes. Although not very closely related to the porcupine it has a similar taste when dried and is frequently eaten as a kind of biltong. Possibly the similar taste may come from the fact it has the spikes which could perhaps act as a means for trapping environmental influences (smoke, dirt, leaves etc.) which are then drawn through the animals skin giving it a rich earthy flavour when dried.
Alex Swindon, Brighton, UK

How about jerk porc (upine) with hardough bread, served with a little salad and a soft drink or a beer?
Sonia Williams, London

You know, this is the first African post I have ever read here that turns a serious issue into something funny! "Tek bad sitt'n mek laugh" as we say in Jamaica. How about jerk porc (upine) with hardough bread, served with a little salad and a soft drink or a beer? A great combination of Caribbean and African cuisine.
Sonia Williams, London, UK

It's very difficult to find porcupines in Malawi. The Kenyan government should export some there. And ladies can use them as the medicine for their husbands to love them more. As a Malawian I know that it can be a good recipe to strengthen Malawian marriages.
Evans Tchongwe, Johannesburg, South Africa

When my grandfather died, I inherited a large number of fishing floats made from porcupine quills. They work just fine and represent another marketable commodity that could give some income for the locals.
Alan Mumford, Prague, Czech Republic

I am surprised by the number of people interested in chewing porcupine bones. I might as well open a porcupine cuisine restaurant in downtown Tokyo. Let me know I you can supply me with healthy porcupine.
Frank, Tokyo, Japan

How could I get some Kenyan porcupines for hybridizing these with Ghanaian porcupines, these bigger and fatter porcupines may become a perfect roasted side dish with cassava and give McDonalds a run for their money in Africa.
George, Niagara Falls, Canada

Does anyone know how a porcupine makes love? Answer: very, veery, veeery... carefully!
Dr Kamau, Mt Kenya, Kenya

There is a profound message for us Africans in John and Tony's (below) light-hearted comments. For me it is that the solution to our problems lies in our hands (or in this case in our mouths!) and we should stop begging the West to come to our assistance every time we hit a rough patch. Let us all unite and make greater use of Africa's inherent skills and human resources.
Anthony Ogunfeibo, London, England

This is funny! Does it mean that we Kenyans are the only Africans who don't eat porcupines? No wonder it's the only place on the continent they feel safe...
Harrie, Germany

I am from Cameroon and porcupine meat is a delicacy. Each time I return to Cameroon to visit my parents, I go to the bush market looking for porcupine meat. If you guys in Kenya do not eat it, just export it to Cameroon. You will make some money and we will be happy. (If I may resort to Pidgin English: Na who gi monkey beef way i no sabi fo chopam?)
Suh Ade Fobedzong, Baltimore, USA

People who have such disregard for another living creature make me sick to my stomach
Colette Roberts, Merseyside

Typical comments when it comes to animals - if they cause you a problem kill them and eat them. They have as much right to occupy the earth as humans, it makes me sick to read people suggesting catching them alive for a reward, using their quills as toothpicks, keeping their paws in a jar, etc etc. People who have such disregard for another living creature make me sick to my stomach.
Colette Roberts, Merseyside, England

I remember eating porcupine as a child in South Africa. Mom didn't tell us what we were eating until everyone had had seconds. Too late to throw a fit. We had all thoroughly enjoyed our tasty meatballs. Besides valuable protein, the quills are good for decorative work. I recently saw American Indian artefacts decorated with porcupine and my first thought was what a pity it was that they didn't have real quills to work with.
Val, Louisville, KY, USA

Seeing all the comments on how delicious the meat is, I have never tasted it myself but now my mouth is watering. So if there is anyone who would like to meet me in Kenya and we arrange a big hunting trip for them and then afterwards we roast them using all these recipes I would appreciate it. Maybe we can add a dash of a big beer festival and then finally we make the festival annually to coincide with the porcupine season.
Emmanuel, Gaborone, Botswana

Roasted, then dried porcupine meat is a strong aphrodisiac. After roasting, mix with oil, then heat up the oil. When it is cool, rub onto your skin and walk to the local bazaar/shopping centre and see the opposite sex's reaction! (and sometimes the same sex!) Try it!
Adam Kyunusi, Kenya

My uncle kills them and uses the spikes as spike-balls half buried in the ground to deter other porcupines to enter our fields, and it works!
Mutaka Mboulu, Mombasa

The Kenyan government should find means of getting rid of these rodents to save their farmers from having poor harvests. For instance poisoning them all.
Assan Cham, Nema, The Gambia

I hear rabbits are really delicious too!
Prakash, Bethlehem

I recommend rats or rabbits be introduced in the area. These animals do a lot of borrowing like their prickly counterpart and they have known to drive porcupines out of the neighbourhood due to the fact that there's not much space left to borrow and probably because of the odour of their excrement. How to get rid of the rats and rabbits when the porcupines are gone is another question. I hear rabbits are really delicious too!
Prakash Krishnamoorthy, Bethlehem, PA, USA

Reading everyone's comments has been a most enjoyable break from the usual difficult reality of world news. I actually read all the comments. I have never eaten porcupine but if I get a chance I will be sure to try it.
Ted Jindrich, Chicag, USA

Bravo, why can't the Ghanaians come to central Kenya and get the porcupines. That would be great. Save the maize!
Liz, Swiss

There is some quick buck to be made here
Mukiri, Dubai

I know of some experts in this field from the Kalahari (saw them on Discovery channel). There is some quick buck to be made here. If I can get one Kikuyu to open up a restaurant with me in Nairobi serving porcupine, coupled with Derek Coggon's skills, I can track these guys down and we're in business!
Mukiri, Dubai, UAE

My friend made a curry out of a porcupine. He said it was very nice. Why not eat them if it feeds your family?
Tom, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I know nothing about porcupines; but I can see no reason why they shouldn't taste delicious. I suggest cooking the meat to eat (a stew sounds wonderful!); plucking the spikes to make baskets, as someone suggested, and stuff the skin, getting it back to its normal shape. Then it can be used as a giant pin cushion, which can in turn be sold as souvenir!
C Hamilton, Santiago, Chile

The world should understand that these are the few creatures remaining in the wild. Something must be done by WWF to relocate them. Encourage the locals to capture them alive, pay them something and fly them to Tanzania because we have big game reserves.
Faustin Luambano, Dar es salaam, Tanzania

Tony, John (bottom of the page) and Adams (below), could we please go as a convoy to help you Kenyan brothers. As a lady, I will be in charge of the cooking while you guys should provide some "burukutu". I haven't tasted porcupines for years!
Ade, Nigerian in London

This is an opportunity of a lifetime. I think porcupine "chama choma" is a great idea. Can somebody tell me the exact location where I can find these pests?
Linus Muiruri, Kahawa, Kenya

It could be properly prepared, packaged and exported to Nigeria
Sodje Oghenerieborue, Lagos

Porcupine is one of the best bush meat delicacies in Nigeria. If international statutes and practice allows, it could be properly prepared, packaged and exported to Nigeria.
Sodje Oghenerieborue, Lagos, Nigeria

What is up with this porcupine fever? I am sick to my stomach...
Fatimah Zahra Popal, Alexandria, Virginia, USA

Those Kenyans would not know a good meat even if it hit them between the eyes
Eric Kwasi Bottah, USA

What rodent, what pest? Darn, those Kenyans would not know a good meat even if it hit them between the eyes. Go west to Ghana, the Great Ashanti people reverend the porcupine. In fact it is the official state emblem or totem of the Ashantis, hence their battle cry, "Ashanti Kotoko (porcupine warriors) kill a thousand and a thousand would pop up the next day to wrestle you down".

One of the greatest football clubs in Africa is named after the porcupine, Kumasi Asante Kotoko. I have eaten so many porcupines in my life I can't remember how many. It is a delicacy, and there is an instance a man divorced his wife over porcupine meat. I am not hearing that the porcupine is a rodent pest. Please Kenyans do Ghanaians a favour. Rear and can them for export to Ghana. I hear you don't like cocoyam and cocoyam leaves too.

All the things that would make Ghanaians love you. By the time you guys realize porcupine meat and cocoyam fufu, plus cocoyam leaves soup (kontomire soup), Ghanaians would have finished eating all of them. A classic case of one man's meat being another man's poison.
Eric Kwasi Bottah, Ghanaian in USA

If they're carefully prepared and cooked (to avoid risking human health) and carefully hunted (to avoid risking porcupine extinction) then eating porcupine is no worse or better than eating tuna or kangaroo. Also, making sure they don't go extinct doesn't have to be about animal rights - it can also be about making sure there will be porcupines left for one's great-grandchildren to eat.

I also like Joseph H Kisaka's (below) idea of diversifying one's crops to include plants which porcupines don't eat - this also protects the farm itself! If a plant disease which strikes just maize arrives, he or she who grows more than maize is less likely to lose the entire farm. Meanwhile, importing a North American predator is a pretty bad idea - the Fisher may threaten more vulnerable Kenyan species too.
Hsifeng, NYC, USA

To be honest porcupine meat tastes delicious. It is similar to duck meat but with more flavour and very crunchy. I myself prefer it more than duck. It is best in curry or BBQ with lots of garlic, pepper and salt. Don't forget a little vegetable oil while you doing BBQ though.
Sean, Bangkok, Thailand

Your comments, especially coming from my Nigerian brothers, are so amusing - trading porcupines for oil? That's really funny! It's nice to see a light side of things from Africa and Africans for a change!

I love to eat porcupine meat. There will be a big celebration among our friends after hunting one. In our village it is a big credit for the hunters catching one. The meat is very tasty. Take me and my friends to Kiambu. We will solve the problem overnight.
Jouhar, Kerala, India

I feel ill after most of these comments. Especially the "hands in a jar" one - I'll be having nightmares about that tonight.
Si, Cardiff, UK

There is plenty of food in central Kenya especially in the Lari area which produces almost half of the vegetables such as cabbages, carrots, kales and spinach consumed in Nairobi. Most people do not eat bush meat or more so animals that resemble rats. Yes, maybe young boys would eat them as they experiment on different things but they cannot dare tell their parent they ate one. The best thing to deal with them is to poison and suffocate them.
Wanjiru, Kiambu/Nairobi

Back in the villages of Malaysia, the older persons say that when the porcupines start to come out of the forest, it means that a natural calamity will befall a place. Example, there might be flooding etc. Otherwise, when caught, and this is rare, the bush animal is cooked into "rending", a delectable spicy dish eaten with rice.
Nani, Brisbane, Australia

It remains for the complaining people of Kiambu to decide
Alfred Sende Gbandi, Sudan

I have just come across the above complaint by the Kenyans regarding the porcupines. It is almost laughable that porcupines can destroy crops while its owners sit aside and watch. In my area at the western equator in southern Sudan, a porcupine makes a most delicious dish. I wonder how these animals could flourish in numbers to the extent that people of Kiambu complain about the destruction of their crops.

What do they keep them for instead of killing them if they don't eat them? Is it that the Wild Life Conservation Dept prohibits them from killing the rotten animals even though they are a danger that will one day bring poverty to them? Well it remains for the complaining people of Kiambu to decide.
Alfred Sende Gbandi, Sudan

Cut the meat up like a chicken, dip it in a little wheat flour and season it with salt, pepper and a little garlic
AH Evans, Seattle

When I was a kid, my father hunted porcupine. He would skin the animal and cut the meat up like a chicken, dip it in a little wheat flour and season it with salt, pepper and a little garlic. It was very good. Kenya's problem could easily be turned into a blessing. Good luck.
AH Evans, Seattle, WA, USA

There was a time that the Chinese had similar problems with their crops getting damaged by rats. They tried anything and everything there was, it didn't work, finally they came to the conclusion to eat these rats and it did work very well for them. I think that the Kenyan should start getting used to eating these porcupines if they want to get rid of them.
Farid, Toronto, Canada

I don't like the concept of weeds and pests. Even some of the things that damage us, are pretty cool. I remember in Trinidad lots of people killed animals and insects that were hampering them in some way. My friends caught bats in their houses and killed them. They thought it was pretty great, but it was really plain dumb. I hope the porcupine population is not damaged too much.
Vicky, Mississauga, Canada

It really is a small world. Whether it is Kenya, the Amazon or the suburbs of Washington DC the answer to the encroachment of mankind into wilderness areas always seem to be let us kill the wildlife we are displacing.
Liz Lewis, Montgomery, Alabama, USA

John and Tony (bottom of the page), you have got talent to be good comedians and spice up a debate that really amuses people. I laughed my head off about your comments. Don't forget to invite me. I don't eat bush meat anymore because I have been westernised.

I prefer a chicken grown in the laboratory or factory. However I will bring West Indian spices to barbecue the porcupine for you. Could you do me a favour and bring some Nigerian Guinness? And then with our friends in Kenya we will wash down the spicy porcupines.
Adams Alabi Dauda, Tottenham, London

The animals are very good for food. I love the fried "Mushkakis" grilled on bicycle spokes. It is something worth trying. "Hakuna mattata" - just eat them.
Didan Mateala, Tanzania

I would like to say just this one thing... eating porcupines is for those who don't know any better. It's a filthy creature, why eat it? It's just like eating a rat, or swine. It disgusts me to read what you guys think of porcupines, as if it were made to go on your plate... Yuck!
Anonymous, Bridgeport, USA

I would suggest drowning them, but that will not help, as anyone who works in Midtown Manhattan knows well - porcupines float in water!
Simon, New York, USA

Derek from Entebbe makes it sound so good I wish I could find a porcupine now, we do have possums but they are very greasy. We have big problems with invasive species of plants and animals here in Florida but it sounds like the porcupines there are native to the area. I think the ban against killing them should be lifted so they can be harvested and their survival ensured through licensing and permitting fees.
Kane Williams, Port St John, Florida

Please please Kenyans; let us strike a deal by us giving you oil and you give us the porcupines
Nasiru, USA

Indeed one man's meat is something else to the other. Believe me. In Obebe village where I grew up in Ibadan, Nigeria, we always prayed to come across a porcupine whenever we went hunting. We even offered sacrifices to the God of Ion (Ogun). That is how important this animal is. It is very sweet especially when cooked with "egusi" and eaten with pounded yam. Please please Kenyans; let us strike a deal by us giving you oil and you give us the porcupines. We will save you and your crops and you will save our pots. That's what we are brothers for.
Nasiru, USA

We do have a natural predator of porcupines in North America. It is the Fisher, a larger member of the weasel family (I think). It has outsmarted the defences of the porcupine. Unfortunately, this is also somewhat of an endangered species here, so I do not think it can provide any solution. Best of luck to our friends in Kenya.
Jim Patrykus, Minneapolis, MN

Can anyone in Kenya send me one by courier?
Jacob Tampuri, Accra

I ate porcupine meat when I was about 15-years-old. I am now fifty and have not forgotten the taste. Can anyone in Kenya send me one dressed (dried or frozen) by courier?
Jacob Tampuri, Accra, Ghana

I have tasted porcupine meat once - in a very fiery Indian curry base - it is wonderful. The meat was prepared by a local hunter when I was doing my undergrad in Palakkad, Kerala.
Shikari Shambu, Chicago, US

A buddy of mine told me that as a kid living in New Brunswick, he would hunt porcupines for the bounty placed on them, but said that the greasy meat was considered safe to eat raw or rare, as their quills prevented them from being in contact with other diseased animals. Cooking still sounds like a good idea though.
Mike Bene, Toronto, Canada

Best of all, no need to go looking for a toothpick afterwards - just yank a quill out of the lil sucker's back!
Ashish, New York

I haven't had porcupine in years and this article really inspires me to get back on the porcupine diet. I can't wait to indulge in this sweet meat with beer bought with bottle caps from Cameroon. Best of all, no need to go looking for a toothpick afterwards - just yank a quill out of the lil sucker's back!
Ashish, New York, USA

To allay medical concerns about handling and eating porcupines may I suggest the hedgehog cooking technique that the English used when other meat was rationed during WWII (as told to me by my mother, who survived the Blitz in Coventry):
Roll the dead animal in clay, making a big ball
Bake in the embers of an open fire until the clay is hard
When you crack open the ball, the skin and quills come away from the flesh with the clay

I believe a similar technique is used in some of America's southern states, for raccoons and other animals.
Stephen Cobb, Saint Augustine, Florida

I miss Africa and its porcupines!
Jacksons, USA

You see how Africans react to "Nungunungu choma"? That is why we say solve African problems in an African way. No porcupine rights or liberty, just catch them, skin them off and roast till golden yellow. I miss Africa and its porcupines!
Jacksons, CT, USA

I really do not understand all the fuss about this animal that has good edible meat. Just stop growing crops for one year while you feed on the meat from the kill. Resume farming when they are all gone.

In North America it is said that the only animal which predates on porcupines is the Fisher Cat, which knows how to flip the animal over and attack the soft belly. In this area, the aboriginal population make (perhaps now only for sale) gorgeous baskets from porcupine quills. They are not only beautiful; they are sturdy and long-lasting. I am grateful to the poster (below) who gave us a recipe for porcupine.
Nicholas, Great Cranbery Island, Maine, USA

Great responses everyone. Brings out the sunny side of Africa! Whoever thought the porcupines were a menace now knows that they never need lose a night's sleep over it. The answers are just a plane ticket away. You are most welcome, our Nigerian and other porcupine meat lovers!
Mutuo Mbilla, Nairobi, Kenya

For anyone who knows Kenyan culture and particularly Kikuyu should never suggest porcupines for dinner. Kikuyu people do not eat bush meat! Since Kiambu is in Kikuyuland, the government and particularly Kenyan Wildlife Society need to find a proper way of dealing with these pretty creatures before they face being endangered species.
Hannah Muthoni, London, UK

These comments are great!
Ken Ramani, Kenya

If the ones in Kenya are bigger, I would like to taste them. I will check out the fare to Kenya shortly!
Toks Oni, London

Some of the porcupines should be kept in the wild to preserve them from extinction and as others as commented, they are good source of vitamins, protein and minerals. The back should be well roasted to destroy any contaminated skin. The porcupines I saw in Nigeria are the small ones and we still ate them. If the ones in Kenya are bigger, I would like to taste them. I will check out the fare to Kenya shortly!
Toks Oni, London, UK

Porcupines in southern Sudan are not good. They eat the crops too much. The meat is very sweet and the body is good and beautiful.
Michael, Rumbek, Sudan

I would love to help by eating them. I love porcupines.
Louise Robertson, Edinburgh, Scotland

The Kiambu folk should borrow a leaf from the Luo in Kenya's book. They have turned to the hyacinth weed in Lake Victoria to profit them by making all sorts of stuff from household furniture to stationery and God knows what! When I was growing up, treated porcupine quills were used to make hair pins and many other things. But that died down. Maybe it's time for a revival in that kind of stuff as more Kenyans are going for more natural stuff. The good thing here is that they can even export the quills and make money the Kikuyu way.
Tess, Nairobi, Kenya

It is not good for them to kill these animals - they are not elephants
Stephen Mayaka, Ibaraki, Japan

The porcupines are like other animals which are protected in parks so it's important for the Kenyan government to protect them. I myself was born in Kisii in the south of Kenya. I used to see these animals but they are not there anymore these days. The people of Kiambu should wait. It is not good for them to kill these animals - they are not elephants.
Stephen Mayaka, Ibaraki, Japan

There are alternative crops which are not eaten by porcupines like hot pepper, paprika, ginger and millet - try them and see the effect. Otherwise I advise the Kenyan government to launch a campaign to keep dogs which are fond of porcupine meat.
Joseph H Kisaka, Kibaya, Tanzania

Is there not a predator besides humans that these porcupines are scared of? Let loose one of these on the farm grounds to wreak havoc on the porcupine population!
Lovell Davis, Dayton, OH

Save one of the hands in a jar for your guests
Derek Coggon, Entebbe

Porcupines are the most delicious and tender of all game animals. Do not skin it as the skin is the tastiest part (1-2" thick) and is 60% of the whole animal (rather like crackling).

Pluck out (carefully) all the large quills
Either drop into or pour over boiling water
Scrape the remaining quills (feathers) off
(The outside skin will resemble a suckling pig and the feet will closely resemble a human hand... take no notice)
Remove the feet/entrails/head
Remove the scent glands at the rear carefully (very important!)
Stuff the inside with stuffing and rice and dried fruit mix
Leave in fridge overnight
Grease the outside of the skin
Bake in the oven until golden brown and cooked

Save one of the hands in a jar for your guests when they query what type of animal they are eating and watch the reaction!
Derek Coggon, Entebbe, Uganda

Kenya can earn good foreign exchange by exporting the porcupine meat to Nigeria (Edo State) as bush meat.
Omo-Odiagbe Odigie, Ekpoma, Edo State, Nigeria

The farmers in Kiambu should consult their Akamba cousins in eastern Kenya on how to catch, skin and roast the porcupines. Nungunungu choma is best!
Muendi wa Kyalo, Leuven, Belgium

Porcupine was a traditional food among the native Americans. Later, the white American settlers used technology such as stew pots to adapt porcupine to traditional rabbit and beef recipes. Unless there's something different about African porcupines, just eat them as stew!
Chris, Chicago, USA

Some people here like them so much. And at first I thought the issue was that the creatures were under threat from poachers. Some farmers would really like them to raid their fields, because then it would really be a big day to catch delicious meat! You see it is illegal to kill them, but allowable if they are a menace to your crops.
Your friend, Botswana

I suggest that Kenyan government should import porcupine eaters from Nigeria, it is one of the best bush meats we eat here. I love the meat and I would appreciate to be the leader of the contingent to eat them. We will be pleased to come and eat them without any cost to the Kenyan government. We only need accommodation and maybe pots etc.
John Ene, Lagos, Nigeria

This is a huge problem, if not an exaggerating national crisis. So as Jonh Ene from Lagos (above), my fellow Nigerian, says we have to help our African brothers. Though I am currently living in Spain I can volunteer to go to Kenya and eat these sweet meats. From my side I don't need accommodation. I just need to know where I can buy pots.
Tony Gbenga, Murcia, Spain.

The Kenyan Wildlife Society should buy live porcupines captured by villagers at rewarding prices. Thereafter, they should relocate them to park areas where they will not be harmful to crops.
Richard Minja, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

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