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Great Indian bustard poachers still at large despite being identified

JAIPUR (India): At a time when the state is taking pride in having taken giant steps for conservation of the critically endangered Great Indian bustard (GIB), poachers of two GIBs shot in February and December last are still at large despite being identified by police. The GIB is the state bird of Rajasthan.

On December 20, 2012 some hunters travelling in two vehicles allegedly shot dead a GIB in broad daylight in Sudasari area, forming part of the Desert National Park and took away the dead bird. A shepherd saw the act and complained to the forest authorities. Another bird was then poached in February 2013, a few kilometres away from Sudasari in the DNP.

According to the sources, telephone call details culled out by the Jaisalmer police reveal that the alleged poacher was one Chhagan Singh (s/o Shambhu Singh) belonging to Baiya village in Jhinjhiali police station of Jaisalmer district. His vehicle (a Tata 207) was used for the crime, which was an unregistered.

The call details further reveal that he was present at the spot of poaching on December 20, 2012 from 10 am till about 12 noon, the call-details also reveal that he reached Baiya village by 1 noon and that (he spent the previous night i.e. December 19, 2012 at a village north of the park).

“Though the forest authorities completed the ‘case diary’, visited that village and handed over this document to the police, they eventually had to depend on the police to get the alleged culprits arrested. The SHO, Khuhadi, along with SHO, Jhinjhiali, raided the residence of Chhagan Singh, along with forest officials, but they did not seize the aforesaid vehicle parked at that house or arrest the alleged poacher.

“We have been with the forest department from day one. The people were identified and I have instructed the SP to review the case and we will take action soon,” said D C Jain, inspector general of police, Jodhpur Range.

Ironically, the incident comes at a time when the state forest department has been preparing an exhaustive plan for conservation of GIB. The action plan stretched over 10 years has a provision to spend nearly 2.58 crore in the first year on conservation, with an overall 59.86 crore in 10 years.

In a span of last four months, the state lost three Great Indian bustards, two to poaching in the Desert National Park and one allegedly due to callousness in treatment by the forest department. “One injured GIB was kept in the Ramdeora enclosure for four days when it could be brought to Jodhpur for appropriate treatment. As for the other two, the police and the forest department have all the details of the offender, yet there has been no action to nab the offenders,” said Harsh Vardhan, who initiated GIB conservation back in 1978.

While the GIB population at present has been estimated around 250 in five states where they are found, the number in Rajasthan are estimated to be around 100.

‘We are serious about conservation and protection of the bird. In the recent Wildlife advisory board meeting also though GIB was not on the agenda but I emphasized the need to start the conservation project soon,” said minister forests and environment, Bina Kak.

Posted by on Jun 6 2013. Filed under Wildlife. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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