Nal Sarovar birds being killed for meat
A bird poaching racket is thriving at this popular sanctuary, located just 50 km from the city. If the 350 odd nets seized and destroyed by the forest department and the arrests of culprits in recent months are any indication, poaching could threaten Nal Sarovar. Forest department officials say, "For four months, from October 2007 to January 2008, six persons have been arrested and 96 birds recovered.' An official said, "Members of the Padhar community, which dominates the villages on the periphery of Nal Sarovar, are engaged in poaching for meat.' The major birds found in Nal Sarovar include storks, spoonbills, pelicans, ducks, flamingos, cranes and coots. The poachers spread the net like a curtain across two poles. When a bird glides down, it gets trapped. Once the bird is caught, poachers immediately twist legs of the bird so that it cannot walk. Next, wings of the bird are clipped. Officials said that even if the forest department were to rescue these birds, it would be useless as they would not be able to walk, swim or fly. An official, pleading anonymity, said that the recovery of these nets from the area in this season was an indication that poaching was rampant. A forest officer said if at all there was trading of birds, it was only within the community. He said a small bird would fetch not more than Rs 15 to 20 while one that is full grown would cost around Rs 30 to 35. The officer further said that there were only 12 staffers to man an area of nearly 120 km and three personnel were sent on deputation to the place during the period between October and March. Deputy conservator of forest BD Modi said that in order to check illegal poaching of birds, the department has designed some 15 routes which the teams have to traverse every day. He said that these rounds had helped curb poaching.