Each team consisting of two forest guards and one watcher to work on rotation

Amid sporadic incidents of poaching of birds, the Forest Department has stepped up vigil in Tiruchi circle.

Special parties comprising field-level officials have been constituted in the circle that encompasses Tiruchi, Perambalur, Ariyalur, Pudukottai, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, and Nagapattinam forest divisions.

The move comes in the wake of a directive from the Conservator of Forests, Tiruchi circle.

Each team to be headed either by a forest ranger or forester consists of two forest guards and one forest watcher.

The parties would be deployed on rotation.

Instructions have been issued to the District Forest Officer (DFO) of the respective forest divisions to provide necessary logistic support to the teams and enable the members to be on the move in the peripheral and outer areas of bird sanctuaries and reserve forests, besides at forest check-posts, bus stands, railway stations, and toll gates.

Forest Department officials told The Hindu that the DFOs have been asked to submit periodic reports to the Conservator of Forests.

The directive from the Forest Department coincides with the seasonal migration of birds from different parts of the globe to the bird sanctuaries in Tiruchi circle.

The bird sanctuaries in Tiruchi circle are situated at Vaduvur and Udayamarthandapuram in Tiruvarur district; Point Calimere in Nagapattinam; and Karaivetti in Ariyalur district.

Migratory birds have also been spotted in the scenic Pachamalai in Tiruchi district.

The officials said the department had been receiving complaints from non-governmental organisations on poaching and threat to wildlife in the outer areas. The focus is more on birds and deers, a senior official said adding that poaching is rarely reported in protected areas such as sanctuaries and reserve forests.

Birds that visit agricultural fields to feed on pests become the target of poachers.

In a recent incident, two persons were arrested for killing a couple of peahens in Perambalur district.

A retired Deputy Superintendent of Police and an ex-serviceman were arrested on the charge of poaching 11 peafowls in Tiruchi district in December last year.