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Poachers held for netting pricey birds

Poachers held for netting pricey birds

LAHORE: Nights have gone far cooler in the deserts of Dera Ghazi Khan indicating that winter is just around the corner, and as winter reaches closer to season calendar poachers of falcons, quails and cranes start mushrooming in this particular habitat.

This reporter was informed on Monday that a party of illegal hunters trying to catch falcons and another party trying to net quails got arrested by a team of the Punjab Wildlife Department.

Punjab Wildlife Department’s deputy director Hassan Ali Sukhera told this scribe by phone that he along with his special squad arrested two parties of falcon netters and four parties of quail netters in the Rajanpur district on Sunday night.

The birds being used for the falcon netting such as pigeons and doves were released in the wild on the direction of the additional magistrate of Rajanpur.

Arrested parties were imposed a fine under the Punjab Wildlife Act 1974. There is a complete ban on netting of falcon, crane and houbara bustard and no relief is being given to illegal netters and hunters in the region.

At least Rs10,000 fine was imposed on each falcon netter and Rs6,000 on quail netters per person.

Mr Sukhera said that both parties were caught red-handed when they had mapped out nets to catch birds.

The falcon price, according to the Punjab Wildlife Department official, runs between Rs1 million to Rs10 million.

He said during the season falcons migrate from Europe and Russia to this particular habitat around Dera Ghazi Khan some 100 or so parties of illegal hunters hit the area to illegally net these birds.

Mr Sukhera said that many parties had been arrested in August 2015 due to intense raids. The money collected from these illegal hunters in the shape of fines, license fee and other such things touched Rs4 million.

Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2015

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