Odisha: Man arrested for hunting birds, 18 bodies seizedA

Berhampur (Odisha): A 48-year-old man has been arrested for hunting birds in Odisha’s Chilika Lake, a forest official said. Chilika Wildlife Division DFO Amalan Nayak said he was hunting birds at Bidharpursahi near Bhusandpur in Tangi forest area and 18 carcasses of four species were recovered from his possession. He said the bird carcasses included Grey Headed Swampen (14), Lesser Whistling Duck (2) and one each of Pheasant Tailed Jacana and Bronze Winged Jacana. Wildlife personnel suspect that the accused person was taking the carcasses to the market for sale and personal consumption. Nayak said the poacher is suspected of poisoning the birds in Chilika Lake. He said the carcasses were buried after conducting post-mortem. The DFO said tissue samples of the carcasses will be sent to the Wildlife Health Centre at Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) and the State Forensic Laboratory in Bhubaneswar for toxicology analysis.

Though not a single poaching case was reported in Chilika during the last bird migration season when lakhs of birds migrate to the lake in winter, poaching of waterbirds has been reported recently. The latest poaching case in the lake is the second in the last one week and the third in a month. Many residential birds and some migratory birds that have stayed back are now in Chilika. On July 3, wildlife personnel arrested two bird poachers at Deipur in Tangi range of Chilika Wildlife Division. Carcasses of 14 birds of two species – grey-headed swamphen (14) and water cock (one) – were seized from the duo. Similarly, forest officials arrested a bird poacher at Tentuliapara and seized carcasses of two open-billed storks, a scheduled animal under the Wildlife Protection Act. Poachers usually become active after the anti-poaching camps are removed in March. The DFO said that patrolling in the lake has been increased with the existing staff.

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