By S. Dilip Roy
A section of locals are engaged in hunting of birds, especially herons, posing threat to the stock of the graceful creature of nature.
A poacher sold five herons at Balapukur Bazar in Aditmari upazila of Lalmonirhat for Tk 150 to 200 each on Monday afternoon.
“I trap the birds in different areas and sell them at different markets without facing any obstacle from law enforcers or locals. Some people put order in advance to buy heron,” said the poacher, Jalal Hossain, 45, from Batrish Hazari village of Lalmonirhat Sadar upazila.
“I catch birds to earn a living. Many others in the district do the same. I do not know of any law against bird hunting,” he said.
Herons come to the beel (large water body) to eat puti maachh (an indigenous fish) but the birds are caught in the poachers’ traps set with the fish.
Poachers regularly come to sell the birds especially herons at Balapukur Bazar as many locals are highly interested to buy the birds, said Mofar Uddin, 35, another poacher of the same village.
“Earlier I saw many herons coming to the local beel to catch fishes but the scene is becoming rarer. Shrinking of water bodies, decrease of indigenous fishes and indiscriminate poaching are responsible for the situation,” said Altaf Hossain Sarker, 82, a farmer at Batrish Hazari village in Lalmonirhat Sadar.
The Wildlife (Protection and Safety) Act 2012 keeps the provision for awarding one year jail and a fine of up to Tk 1 lakh or both to the bird poachers, said Dr Abu Hossain Sarker, district livestock officer.
“With the help of law enforcers, I will conduct drive against bird poachers if I get information. It is highly necessary to build up awareness among the people to stop bird poaching,” he said.