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Killing, sale of winged visitors continue unabated in Kashmir

Srinagar, Jan 28: Even as the poaching of the migratory birds is banned in Kashmir under the J&K Wildlife Protection Act, the avian species are being killed and openly sold in various markets of the valley.

A source in Bandipora said that migratory birds are killed and sold in main market Bandipora and Hajin without any concern or care for the law banning the same.

 

A picture showing apparently three dead Himalayan Monals being sold somewhere in Kashmir has also gone viral on social media in Kashmir in the last few days.

Many other pictures of poachers carrying such birds too have been trending on social media here thus exposing the failure of the wildlife department to keep a check over such blatant violation of rules.

The Hokersar and Shalbugh wetlands, which were once considered safe habitats for the winged visitors, have now, as per sources, become a death trap for these birds.

Sources within the concerned department told The Kashmir Monitor that the government was making “no efforts to enhance anti-poaching infrastructure of the department”.

Dr Ghulam Rasool, an environmentalist, said: “No doubt there is presence of staff in the protected areas but when the birds fly into other un-notified wetlands, which are not protected, they are shot down with pellets.”

He added that “practically it is not possible to mark Wular Lake, which is spread on about 146 sq km radius, as protected.”

“The wildlife department is not so vast that they can spread their staff in all the associated wetlands,” Dr Rasool said.

He, however, added the authorities can restrict poaching incidents by seizing licensed guns issued to the people.

Chief Wildlife Warden, Rashid Naqash said they are “regularly monitoring the poaching of birds and have placed squads for the same.”