Special team deputed to nab the absconding offenders

In a mid-night operation, a Forest Protection Squad has arrested three people for poaching seven peacocks and three peahens at Melacheethai village near Uthirakosamangai, near here and seized the birds, which are protected under schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

Acting on a tip off, the Forest Protection Squad, Virudhunagar, led by Assistant Conservator of Forest M.Anand Kumar launched an operation on Saturday night and arrested the poachers in the early hours of Sunday.

10 birds hunted down

By the time the five-member squad reached the village with Kilakarai Forest Ranger S.Jayaraman and his team, the poachers had already hunted down 10 birds including seven peacocks and three peahens.

Mr. Kumar said a six-member gang was engaged in hunting the birds and on seeing the forest personnel, three fled from the scene, leaving behind their two wheelers, while three others were caught with the ten birds. Four of the birds were found dead, he said.

Mr. Jayaraman said the six rescued birds were in a pathetic condition with their skins peeled off as the poachers had crudely plucked the feathers. The birds were given treatment at the Kilakarai veterinary hospital but they died in the evening, he said.

He identified the poachers as P.Charles (43), T.Yogava (32) and A.Christopher (35), all hailing from Veerambal village. They were arrested under sections 9, 39, 49, 50 and 51 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Three two-wheelers were also seized.

The accused were produced before the Judicial Magistrate court here and remanded in judicial custody.

The dead birds were shown to the Magistrate and they were buried on court orders, he added.

Deepak Bilgi, Wildlife Warden, Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park said special staff team would be deputed to nab the absconding offenders.

On conviction, the accused would be awarded a minimum of three years and maximum of seven years imprisonment, he said. There was no census on the birds’ population, but the district has “good distribution of birds”, he said. Mr. Kumar said the poachers had used headlights to focus on the birds sitting on palm and other trees and lured them to fly down.

Once they landed, they caught them after laying a net, he said. Enquiries revealed that the poachers hunted the birds for their meat, Mr.Jayaraman said adding each bird weighed about three kgs.