Sale of poached endangered animals and resident water birds is taking place unabatedly in two Narikorava habitations near Villianur in Puducherry.
On a visit to the two places — Koodappakkam Road and Uthuvaranipet near Villianur, one could purchase four dead cattle egrets, a pond heron and a white-breasted water hen for just Rs. 600.
In a hut, the poached birds were stacked in a refrigerator. Trapping of birds and animals takes place on Fridays and Saturdays and the sale picks up on Sundays, say the local residents.
Naturalists in Puducherry said a group of the Narikoravas poaches the birds and animals in the water bodies located in the limits of Villupuram district. The moment they realise that Tamil Nadu Forest authorities are zeroing in on them, they with the poached birds cross the border and move to Puducherry. This creates hurdles to the officials of the Tamil Nadu Forest Department to catch the Narikoravas indulging in poaching.
Describing the various methods adopted by the Narikoravas, one of the naturalists from Puducherry says a common technique is to keep a dead bird on a water body, which will automatically attract a flock of birds. The poachers spread a net in the water and the moment birds land in the water, the noose of the net is pulled and all the landed birds will get trapped in it.
The second method is to spread grains on lotus leaves, laced with poisonous chemicals. The Narikoravas do it on Saturday evenings and collect the dead ones the next day morning. The collected dead ones are packed in gunny bags and brought to the habitation, where a brisk business takes place.
For smaller mammals, the poachers use meat ball packed with explosive materials. Once the animal bites the meat ball, the face will get blasted off and it will die. Then it is picked up from the field.
Until last year, the birds and animals used to be sold openly on the road with the meat hanging outside the huts of the Narikoravas.
Since then, several news channels and papers carried the issue. Now, the sale of the meat is done in a discreet manner, local activist S. Vimal Raj told The Hindu.
According to Agricultural Officer of the Forest Department K. Sivakumar, in the last year, there have been 10 raids in the area and there is also constant patrolling to ensure that the sale of illegally poached meat is restricted. Unfortunately, the Department has not actually entered into the houses of the poachers to seize the meat, since it does not have women officers.
(With inputs from