Punjab Wildlife Department Ignores Rare Bird Poaching

In some instances, wildlife department officials are involved with sports hunters

The hunting of rare species of falcons and quails peaked in the province, due to the negligence of the Punjab wildlife authorities. A large number of falcons and quails were hunted in different districts of the province during the last month.

Punjab wildlife officials said over 100 hunters were arrested and fined over hunting rare birds. Hunting rare wild birds reached a peak in Punjab due to the inattention of Secretary Forests and Wildlife and Director General Punjab Wildlife. People are secretly hunting rare species of falcons and quails in many areas, sometimes with the connivance of wildlife staff.

Around 123 hunters were arrested and fined millions of rupees for hunting falcons, wild quails and wild pigeons, but the number of sport hunters is growing. Most hunting of rare species took place in Salt Range, Sargodha, Rajanpur, Bahawalnagar, Bhakkar, Pakpattan, Okara and Muzaffargarh. According to sources, hunters are slapped with small fines, but fines alone cannot address the rapidly declining numbers of wild birds.

During September and October, falcons and other migratory birds arrive in Pakistan. He added that falcons are rare and precious birds and their price is determined by the breed, size and health. A female falcon costs more than a male and the price of varies between Rs10,000 and Rs10 million.

He further disclosed that staff only catch the hunter as a formality and fine them a small amount. Falcon hunters have a strong network, which includes poachers, dealers, smugglers and people from the department itself. On the other hand, the officials said that action is being taken across the province against those who hunt wild birds, on the instructions of the secretary of forests and wildlife. If any employee of the department is involved in illegal hunting, action will be taken against them. According to the authorities, poachers can be fined and punished as per the Wildlife Act.

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