image04507_2The hunting season of Russian turtle doves has started in the upper valleys of Chitral where the wildlife department is unmoved to the ruthless killing of the migratory birds.

A community conservation worker from Terich valley, Hashim Baig, said although dove was considered as a sign of peace migrating from neighbouring Central Asian States of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan its hunting in Chitral peaked during the month of May.

He said the bird is included in the game birds which can be hunted by getting shooting permit, which allows shooting of only two birds a day. He added that a hunter in Chitral used to kill as many as 100 doves in a single day.

Larger in size than the oriental turtle doves as found in the plain areas of the country, the turtle dove faces extinction as their number is fast decreasing every year, thanks to the unchecked and ruthless hunting, said a biodiversity specialist requesting not to be named.

image04506_2Regarding the migration of the bird to Chitral, he said the breeding areas in the Central Asia Republics received heavy and incessant rainfall in the months of April and May which forced the bird to migrate to northern belts of Chitral and Afghanistan in search of food. He said the breeding season of turtle doves starts in the month of June on their return to the places of their origin.

He said the hunting can be controlled effectively by community mobilisation which has been used in the past.

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