Poaching of migratory birds continues unabated in Chilika Lake despite warning by wildlife officials against killing of winged guests in Asia’s largest blue lagoon.
Stringent anti-poaching law is in force in the lake, home to lakhs of winged guests, and whosoever is found to be violating it will be sternly dealt with, official sources said.
Meanwhile, in the latest incident that took place on Saturday, wildlife officials arrested two poachers in the lake and seized 16 bird carcasses from them. The accused were identified as Prakash Dalia and Sarbeswar Nayak of Bhusandapur, wildlife officials said.
The officials arrested them while they were collecting dead birds near Subhadrapur inside the lake under Tangi wildlife range, said Divisional Forest Officer of Chilika wildlife division B.P. Acharya.
The dead birds seized from them included nine large whistling teals, five shovellers and two pintails, which were killed through illegal trapping, said Tangi Wildlife Range Chief S.C. Behera.
This is the third such incident since migratory birds started descending on the vast lake from the second week of October. Two poachers were arrested on November 11 and 27 respectively inside the lake and at least 11 dead birds were seized from them, Mr. Behera said.
Since the meat of migratory birds is high in demand among non-vegetarians in nearby towns like Balugaon, Khallikote, Berhampur and Bhubaneswar, poachers hunt these birds to meet the demand and earn extra money, wildlife activists said.
However, wildlife officials said they have initiated several anti-poaching measures in the lake.
“We have set up 19 camps with deployment of over 50 staff to keep constant vigil on poachers,” the DFO said.
The government had banned entry into the 15.53 square km area of the Nalabana bird sanctuary without permission from authorities.
The Nalabana island is known as the paradise of migratory birds as lakhs of winged guests descend there during their annual sojourn. Besides Nalabana, migratory birds also flock various parts of the 1,100 sq km lake.
Scores of migratory birds wing their way into the lake mostly from far off places beyond the Himalayas, Northern Eurasia, Caspian region, Siberia, Kazakh, Lake Baikal and remote areas of Russia and neighbouring countries every winter. They start their homeward journey before onset of summer. — PTI