As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Monday 15 April 2013

Nalsarovar’s fishy bird trade exposed

Himanshu Kaushik, TNN Apr 9, 2013, 04.16AM IST
AHMEDABAD: Their long journey from Afghanistan to Ahmedabad went horribly wrong months after they touched down at Nalsarovar. Instead of a safe haven at a picturesque bird sanctuary, about 60 coots fell prey to bird poachers, who trapped the visitors and broke wings to prevent them from flying away.

The forest department arrested two men, Kadar Khamasa and Vali Mohammad from Ramgarh village in Ahmedabad on Monday in connection with illegal trade of the birds. The two had kept the birds alive to fetch a better price from hoteliers who sell exotic meat varieties to their clients. The bird's meat is also used in feasts during weddings and other festivities in nearby villages.

The two accused used to buy birds at Rs 60 per a piece from local villagers and sell them for around Rs 200. Khamasa and Mohammad, both residents of Surendranagar, had packed the birds in small boxes and are believed to have regular clientele.

The arrests have brought to light rampant poaching at Nalsarovar, the only Ramsar site in Gujarat. Ramsar sites are wetlands of international importance designated under the Ramsar Convention. Preliminary investigations have revealed that Khamasa's father too was involved in poaching. Deputy conservator of forests, Sasi Kumar said, "We kept a watch following specific inputs. Both were in possession of the 60 birds when they were arrested. On examining the birds we found that they were alive but their wings and legs were broken."
Senior officials say this was one of the biggest catches for the department which has so far only managed to seize nets.

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