In spite of a number of laws and rules which prohibit poaching and trading wildlife and wildlife products, poachers literally enjoy a free run in Manipur with a variety of wild animals either alive, slaughtered or cut into pieces and sold openly at major market places of the hill districts.
Wild animals are sold abundantly in the markets of Ukhrul district headquarters every day.
Even as wild animals are sold right in front of the Ukhrul DC office, no law enforcing agency speaks a word against it, forget about taking action.
Incidentally, Ukhrul district is home to Nongin, the State bird of Manipur.
It is not only the poachers who are at fault.
A large number of people are also culpable for the wild animals and their products sold illegally in front of all Government authorities are always in great demand.
A variety of wild animals including deer, wild pigs, wild fowl and monkeys are sold openly at the wooden stalls opened beside the entrance gate of 6th MR complex and opposite to the Ukhrul mini secretariat.
MR personnel as well as other Government officials came and enquired about the prices of wild animals sold there but they never said that it was illegal to kill or trade wildlife or wildlife products.
Wild fowls put on sale amid common vegetables like mustard, cabbage, peas, yongchak etc were sold within minutes and there was no time for bargaining.
Two women were also seen selling deer and wild pigs after dressing them then and there as if everything is okay.
It appears that most of the wild animals sold in Ukhrul markets were hunted using guns.
According to environmentalist Dr Kh Shamungou who is also a member of the IUCN's Deer Survival Commission expressed strong suspicion that licensed guns issued to hill people by the Government for self defence are being used for hunting wild animals.
It is crucial for the Government to take up necessary steps so that all the hill people are aware of the provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act, he added.