In a joint raid carried out by the Puducherry Forest Department and the Villupuram Forest Division, more than 40 carcasses of birds of scheduled species were seized in areas near Villianur on Sunday. The teams also rescued 11 Rose Ringed Parakeets chicks during the raids.
The raid started in the morning while the Asian Water Bird census was underway at the Oussudu bird sanctuary, designated as one of the important wetlands of Asia by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and jointly managed by Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. The procedure to register a case against the offenders under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, has been undertaken by the Puducherry Forest Department personnel.
According to Deputy Conservator of Forests (Directorate of Forests and Wildlife, Puducherry) Vanjulavalli Sridhar, “The Villupuram Forest Division alerted us after they received a tip-off that poaching was happening in Puducherry, which was out of their jurisdiction. We took their assistance and conducted a joint raid in areas near Villianur. The birds were kept ready for sale on Sunday. We have initiated steps to nab the offenders with the help of the local police.”
The teams seized carcasses of 42 migratory birds including the Asian Open Bill, Red-Wattled Lapwing, Black-headed Ibis, and Glossy Ibis besides Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Indian Pond Heron and Black-crowned Night Heron. The team also rescued 11 Rose Ringed parakeet chicks. All the birds are listed under Schedule IV of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
. “Consumers have been buying bird meat regularly and do not understand the seriousness of the issue. The number of birds will eventually decrease due to regular poaching. If poaching continues for a long time, it will have a serious effect on the population. First, this will have a serious impact on the population and the birds will also avoid visiting this place. Basically, we are going to lose out on our wildlife and ecology,” said Ms. Sridhar.
Pointing out that the gravity of offence was very high, the Deputy Conservator of Forests also appealed to people not to buy meat from the sellers. “While the sellers claim that they do not have other sources of livelihood, it is not true. People should restrain themselves from buying birds from them, and the demand will then go down.”
All the birds that were hunted and killed, attract three years of imprisonment and a fine of ₹25,000 under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Those who are buying from the sellers are also equally guilty, the officials said.
People with parakeets as pets at home should voluntarily surrender them to the Directorate of Forests and Wildlife, Mullaiyagam, Puducherry. No action will be taken against them. However, if the Department finds out and takes action, they will also be liable for the same penalty, Ms. Sridhar said.
Any information in this regard may be immediately communicated to the Forest Department on 0413 - 2204808, 98435 73234 and 94425 17288.