Jamshedpur : Despite the decline in the number of migratory birds this winter poachers continue to kill the winter visitors in the city.
The exotic birds that come in search of a home here to escape the severe winter, are ironically finding their way on to the plates of locals.
Thousands of migratory birds belonging to more than 16 species used to visit the subcontinent during early eighties and at present, the number has dropped drastically into hundreds. Now about 500-odd winged guest are visiting in our country, told an official.
“Global warming, pollution and frequent bombings in conflict zones along their flight path are the main reasons behind the decline in the number of the winged guest,” added the official.
But poachers — usually local tribals — claim they do it for quick money and have been active all along. This winter, they have been hunting for the past 20 days in regions of Dhanbad and Bokaro.
This season Jubilee Park, Dimna Lake, Dalma Wild life Sanctuary others have reported sighting of various species of these migratory birds like — ruff, black winged common teal, green shank, white and citirine wagtail, northern pintail, gargely, common coot, mallard, pygmy goose, pochard, red crested pochard and combed duck.
Many of these birds are making their way to local markets and being sold for anything between Rs 120 and Rs 150 a kg. Sometimes they are sold for Rs 400 a kg also. Many villagers were also seen catching these birds from the waterbodies recently.
“Last year we received information about poaching and engaged a team of forest guards to keep a vigil on the waterbodies in and around Ranchi and Jamshedpur. Sign boards were put up saying killing of migratory birds is an offence. I am surprised to learn that poaching is on. I wonder how our team failed to spot poaching,” said another senior official.
Chief conservator of forest, A K Gupta, “I will issue an alert for across districts.” He also said poaching is an offence warranting arrest and punitive action. Flocks of these birds were also seen crowding trees along NH-33 between Ranchi and Jamshedpur.
“We are very excited after seeing so many species of migratory birds this winter after a decade but stunned to see the brutal killing of these birds by tribal people,” said Deepak Mahato, a bird lover.
He added, “In the early nineties thousands of visitors from Bengal, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar used to frequently visit these area, including Jubilee Park Lake, to catch a glimpse of the exotic birds”.
“But now poaching and Naxal threat has bring decline in the numbers of winged guest as well as visitors,” lamented Mahato.