By Ragini Shree
The arrest of three persons on charges of poaching Rajasthan’s state bird – the Great India Bustard (GIB) – has once again highlighted ignorance among people about the endangered status of the bird and the need for strengthening measures to save it. The manner in which the accused killed the birds and videotaped it, even cooking the meat, also exposes a lack of monitoring by the forest authorities.
A CD containing the footage was sent to the forest officials in Jaisalmer district but no action was initiated for two weeks. The matter was reported to higher authorities who formed a team, identified the culprits and nabbed three of them on Thursday from Sriganganagar district. The team also seized a four wheeler and cartridges used for poaching.
According to Chief conservator of forests GS Bhardwaj, the accused poached a GIB, locally known as Godawan, and a few other birds too. They cooked the meat and recorded the whole process with impunity. The department arrested Abhayjeet Singh, Bhajan Singh and Sita Ram while a search for the other accused is on.
In fact, a widespread poaching of the bird has landed it in the category of most endangered species facing threat of extinction from India.
Rising to the need of conserving the bird, the state government has announced Project Great Indian Bustard (GIB) — something on lines of Project Tiger — to conserve the GIB. After the successful relocation of tigers to Sariska tiger reserve in Alwar district, Rajasthan’s forest department has now shifted its focus towards the conservation of birds. More....