Chennai: To curtail poaching of birds and to protect migratory birds visiting wetlands in Kancheepuram, local foresters have roped in village youngsters and bird watchers to patrol bird sanctuaries and water bodies during this monsoon.
Awareness campaign to narikuravas (gypsies) is also conducted as part of anti-poaching activities, Kancheepuram district forest officer B. S. Tukkaram told DC and the rangers have been alerted to be vigil so that the incidence of poaching is reduced. Besides the campaign, regular visits to narikurava settlements will be held to improve basic facilities for them.
The foresters have been also instructed to monitor food outlets serving non vegetarian in Kancheepuram, he said.
“Spotting a gypsy with catapult and air guns along with migratory birds use to be a common scene till 2000, but now situation has changed as there is an increased awareness among narikuravas. But still there are cases of poaching reported in north Tamil Nadu, as hotels and restaurants encourage by poaching of birds,” said a source with Traffic India, wildlife poaching monitoring body.
Pudhucherry, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur have large lakes that attract migratory birds and there is a need for continuous monitoring of poachers, he said.
According to foresters the poachers after shooting the migratory birds would skin the bird and then chop the wings and head to ensure that the identity of the birds goes unnoticed.
“Lakes in Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur had always been a habitat for migratory birds from November to April and these birds stay till May. Particularly pelican and egrets face threat from poachers but Gypsies are now aware about the consequences of poaching”, said Gowthaman Ganesan, of The Nature Trust, which tracks bird movements in Kancheepuram.