The poaching of the winged visitor is not a new phenomenon in Nalsarovar. Though incidents of poaching have largely gone unnoticed, the trade has continued for not less than five decades.
The arrest of two traders from Ramgarh revealed that the trade has been going on for decades. Investigations reveal that father of Kadar Khamasa was into this illegal trade for the past 50 years. Even Kadar has been in the trade for nearly 12 years.
Sources in the department said that it was on an alert after the staff recovered not less than 20 nets on a daily basis. Senior officials said that since October, the department has been recovering about 600 nets in a month. This was double the number of nets seized in the past. "In the past, on an average, 10 nets were recovered daily but these days the number has doubled," he said.
This was enough for the short staffed department to increase patrolling and that too especially in the night. Officials said that the informer network was strengthened and even the DCF Sasi Kumar became a party to the night patrolling.
Officials said that with shortage of staff, the staff was asked to have their informers among a specific community which was into eating of meat. A watch was kept on functions to see if the migratory bird meat was served.
On Sunday, one of the informers alerted the Range Forest officer B H Khamar and the beat guard V C Chauhan that a deal was to take place late in the night. A watch was kept in the Ramgarh Village and when the two struck the deal and were moving out of the village, they were arrested.
Officials said that the two were traders and according to the information, they used to collect birds only in large numbers, over 50 sometimes. The villages situated along the bank and especially towards Surendranagar district are known for this trade. "These people used to get away in legal battles by arguing that they were actually rescuing birds when they got arrested."