The tall claims of the State Government with regard to conserving the wildlife in the protected and non-protected areas have proved hollow as rampant hunting of birds has been going on in the wetlands, rivers and other bird habitats in Kamrup district. The Forest department has apparently failed to protect birds from poachers.
The people of the Dadara area in Kamrup district staged a road blockade on January 7 with five carcasses of the migratory grey-legged geese which arrive in the State during the winter season. Later, the carcasses were handed over to the Assam State Zoo.
Quoting a veterinary doctor involved in the examination of the birds, Forest Ranger T Ahmed told this correspondent that the birds were believed to have been infected by flu, which might be the reason behind their death. But other sources alleged that the birds were poisoned to death at the Singimari Beel near Dadara by poachers.
The population of migratory birds found along the Brahmaputra, Deepor Beel and Dighali Beel in Kamrup district has been decreasing every year as hundreds of migratory and local birds are killed by poachers.
Sources said that the Brahmaputra river, its sandbars and adjoining wetlands in Kamrup district are ideal habitats of some endangered and threatened birds like the greater adjutant stork, lesser adjutant stork, bar-headed goose, greylegged goose, large egret, pelican, slender billed vulture, king vulture, black-necked stork, white-bellied heron, etc. But these threatened winged species have reportedly been captured or killed by poachers by taking advantage of the laxity of some Forest officials. Poachers have been earning money by selling the birds clandestinely or in the open.
The poachers have been casting nets over rivers, sand bars and wetlands to trap birds. Sources said that some poachers also mix pesticides in grains to kill birds. These pesticides are also applied on small fishes which act as baits.
A large number of birds have reportedly been poached along the Brahmaputra river, Garjan, Dighali, Dora Beel, Deepor Beel, etc., in Kamrup district. The sources said that some poachers have also been using snares. Insects are used as baits. Pet birds are also used as baits in some snares.
During the night, hundreds of birds are poached by using torchlights.
The State Government has issued licences to some people to use rifles and some of those rifles are reportedly used in shooting birds. A section of nature lovers have requested the Government to examine the purpose of using the rifles and demanded of the Government to revoke the licences of those people who shoot birds and other animals.
The sources said a large number of birds have been killed by using catapults. A large number of vendors have been selling rubber at the markets in Boko and Hahim in Kamrup district and at Dhupdhara in Goalpara district, which needs to be prohibited immediately.
Noted wildlife expert and former head of the Zoology Department of the Gauhati University, Dr PC Bhattacharyya said that the birds have the right to live in their habitats and the mankind should be sympathetic towards the birds and massive awareness needs to be created to protect birds.