Khurda: Rampant poaching of migratory birds at villages near Chilika lake has emerged as a big challenge for the Forest department.
Hundreds of migratory birds are being killed by the poachers for meat purpose everyday right under the nose of Forest department officials, sources said.
Forest department officials recently arrested a poacher from Tangi range and seized four dead birds from him. The poacher was identified as Jagan Pradhan, 24, of Ujjala Gopinathpur. He was reportedly catching birds by laying traps at Balipatpur, sources said.
During winter, lakhs of birds from far-flung places like Siberia, Caspian Sea, Lake Baikal, Central and Southeast Asia, Ladakh and Himalayas usually flock to the brackish water lake for its congenial environment.
According to sources in the Forest department, at least 8 lakh migratory birds of around 100 species have congregated at Nalabana bird sanctuary inside Chilika and nearby places like Badagotha, Satapada, Mangalajodi, Bhusandpur and Nairi.
The bird species include northern pintail, gadwall, shelduck and black-tailed godwit. The Forest department has planned to conduct a bird census at Chilika January 5, sources added.
“Poachers are killing migratory birds at Brahmagiri, Krushnaprasad, Tangi, Mangalajodi and Bhusandpur areas near Chilika either by using poison or by traps. Hundreds of birds were killed for meat purpose ahead of the New Year’s Day. The poachers are supplying bird meat to hotels and restaurants. A racket is active in the villages near Chilika to poach birds for serving their meat to visitors,” said an environmentalist.
Social activists and wildlife lovers, meanwhile, blamed the callousness of Forest department officials for regular poaching of migratory birds near Chilika. “The Forest department officials only arrest a few poachers every year to flaunt their alertness and efficiency. But, they have no intention to introduce some concrete plans to check poaching of birds,” said a wildlife lover.