By K Sarojkumar Sharma
IMPHAL: Intensifying its drive against poaching in Manipur, People for Animals (PFA), Thoubal, rescued at least 17 spotted doves from three poachers in Imphal East district. The three poachers were arrested and remanded to four days' police custody by a local court on Friday.
The birds feature in Schedule IV of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, which lists endangered wild animals, said a statement issued by the animal rights group.
Acting on prior information, PFA members on Thursday reached the Wangkhei Thambalkhong area in Imphal East district where they found the poachers handling the birds using huge nets.
"We immediately surrounded the area and succeeded in rounding up the three poachers-Md Salam (56), Md Sameer (20) and Md Amu (38)," said the statement signed by the body's managing trustee L Biswajeet Meitei.
"We found 18 spotted doves, including a dead one. Shockingly, the birds had been stripped of their feathers," it added. While the accused were handed over to Porompat police in Imphal East, the rescued birds were provided necessary medical treatment, the statement read.
On Friday, the poachers were remanded to four days' police custody, the statement said and added that the trio would be produced before the chief judicial magistrate on Monday.
PFA, Thoubal, filed a separate petition asking for permission to provide care to the birds at its temporary animal shelter enclosure in Thoubal till they were fit to be released. The petition was granted.
"Pigeons and doves feed mainly on fleshly seeds and they play an important role in forest ecology by dispersing the seeds of fruiting trees and shrubs in their faeces," the statement added.