Wildlife Officials Fear Dealers More Than the Animals

these two flamingoes were rescued by game officer rashid ahmed khan during a raid at empress market on monday khan also took custody of 18 wild doves 20 chakors eight black and two grey partridges and two baby monkeys photos athar khan express

These two flamingoes were rescued by Game Officer Rashid Ahmed Khan during a raid at the Empress Market. Custody was also taken of 18 wild doves, 20 chakors, eight black and two grey partridges and two baby monkeys.

In the wild, it is natural human instinct to fear animals. In Karachi’s wilderness, however, it is the dealers of these animals who pose the biggest threat.

The menacing nature of these dealers came out in full swing as a raid team of the Sindh Wildlife Department (SWD) raided the pet shops at  Empress Market. The team came and left within minutes, managing to rescue only 54 birds and two baby monkeys from the marketplace that is teeming with protected wildlife species.

The raid conducted was a reflection of the capacity of the department as only one dealer was detained by the around two dozen personnel of the SWD. TRhe officials are afraid of even entering the market, let alone attempting to confiscate protected birds and animals and detain their dealers, due to the influence of ‘political mafias’.

The recent raid, led by Game Officer Rashid Ahmed Khan took custody of 18 wild doves, 20 chakors, eight black and two grey partridges, two flamingoes and two baby monkeys. With the exception of the monkeys, all birds will be released into the wild on the outskirts of Karachi.

The issue of illegal trade of animals and birds has been raised in several meetings by the Karachi Commissioner, while the dealers have also been warned to avoid the illegal sale of protected animals. Due to the weakness of the SWD, however, the business resumes even on the next day of the raid.

Sources told The Express Tribune that the raid only targeted a few shopkeepers as the officials avoid staying in the market for long due to the fear of backlash by the dealers. “We raid without weapons,” said an official, who wished not be named. “We enter the market, confiscate whatever we can lay our hands on and leave the spot within minutes,” he explained. The official lamented that that political parties supported the illegal trade of animals in Karachi.

The raid party’s Karachi head admitted that his department lacked resources. “It is very risky to conduct a raid in a market like this,” he reasoned, adding that dealers who are in the hundreds can harm them during the activity. Khan, on the other hand, said that dealers have been asked to sell captive breed birds, not wild and protected ones. “They don’t follow the laws,” he added.

The department’s provincial conservator said there was no need to call the police during such raids. “We seek help from the police when needed,” he claimed, contrary to the version given by his subordinates.

A trader in the market had at least 20 cranes when the party conducted the raid.  “There were several protected birds and animals but only a few dozen were confiscated,” another official said.

The traders have been asked to keep in constant touch with the SWD. “We don’t stop their legal business,” he said. He said that the department issues licenses for trading birds and animals but warned that the sale and purchase of protected animals would not be allowed.

Separate cases have been registered against the dealers under the Sindh Wildlife Protection Ordinance 1972.

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