Viral photos set off hunt for bird poachers in Faridkot —

Greylag geese (Representative picture )

Greylag geese                  (Representative picture )

A vigilant bird-watcher and school teacher, Jasvir Singh, has set off a hunt for two poachers after he photographed them shooting migratory Greylag geese at a Faridkot wetland in Punjab (India) with a double-barrel shotgun on Saturday (17-02-2018) afternoon.

The photographs of the poachers carrying the heavy geese with them from the wetland went viral on social media birding groups. After Times of India (TOI) alerted Punjab Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Dr Kuldip Kumar about the poaching of migratory birds on Sunday, the department staff swung into action. The wetland lies across the canal and on the road leading from Machaki Mal Singh village to Rat Rori village.

“I have personally spoken to the school teacher who photographed the poachers. I have deputed Divisional Forest Officer (Territorial) at Ferozepur and Divisional Forest Officer (Wildlife) at Ferozepur to proceed to the spot and lodge an FIR at the police station. The police will know the arms licence holders in the area and we can secure the assistance of the Faridkot SSP to nab the poachers. I am very hopeful that we will track down the two poachers,” Dr Kumar told TOI on Sunday evening.

On their part, nature lovers and birders of the Faridkot area extended support to Jasvir Singh, and a delegation plans to submit memorandums with the attached incriminating photographs to the Faridkot DC and SSP.

“I was out birding in the area on Saturday when I saw a flock of geese. The geese flew away and later I heard what seemed to be the sound of firecrackers. Initially, I was under the impression that the local fish farmers were scaring away birds which target fish by bursting potash firecrackers. However, I felt a bit uneasy and suspicious and was concerned about the well-being of our migratory guests. I walked towards the direction of the sounds and found the poachers carrying away the dead geese. I clicked the pictures of the poachers, who left the spot on a motorcycle. I have been told by local goatherds that poaching is frequent at these wetlands, which have arisen due to water-logging and canal seepage,” Jasvir Singh told TOI.

Apart from migratory Greylag geese, the wetlands are also favoured by migratory Ruddy shelducks and resident Spotbill ducks. Poachers commonly poison migratory birds by lacing wheat grains with pesticides in Haryana and Punjab wetlands. However, gun-toting poachers have been on the decline in recent years.

“I was apprehensive of chasing the poachers because they had a gun and would have snatched away my camera knowing I would have clicked photographs. However, I am ready to assist the investigations and will identify the poachers,” added Jasvir. (Times of India)

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