RAJKOT: Yet another instance of poaching of Spoon Bills and Demoiselle Cranes has come to light from Mangrol in Junagadh district. Police seized a four-wheeler containing the carcasses of 24 Demoiselle Cranes and two Spoon Bills on Sunday morning but the poachers managed to slip away.
Source said that on Sunday morning, Mangrol police received a tip-off that some persons were poaching migratory birds in Khar area on the sea shore. Acting on the tip-off, the cops rushed to the spot. However, on seeing police approaching them, the poachers packed up their belongings including dead birds and nets and tried to flee in a Tata Sumo vehicle.
The cops chased the car to nab the accused. Fearing arrest, the poachers left the vehicle and ran into the shrubs along the coast.
Police seized the car and carcasses along with instruments used for poaching the birds. They also informed the local forest department officials and asked them to join the investigation in the matter.
The cops are trying to identify the vehicle owner on the basis of its registration number. Officials said that more details about poaching in the region will emerge once the poachers are nabbed.
Bird watchers say that Demoiselle Cranes migrate to Saurashtra coast in large numbers in winters. They are found in abundance on the entire coastal stretch from Bhavnagar to Dwarka.
"The Demoiselle Crane is locally known as the Koonj. Bird poachers become active during the winter season to kill cranes that are easily available. There is urgent need to increase patrolling on wetlands and areas where birds are found in abundance," said Vijay, a wildlife activist from Kutiyana in Porbandar district. Koonj figures prominently in Gujarati literature and poetry.