February 2008 News

Musk Deer, Jungle Fowls Being Killed With Immunity

13 February 2008
Greater Kashmir

Srinagar: Poachers are posing a serious threat to many wild animals in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district after the recent snowfall forced the animals to move towards plains. Musk deer and jungle fowls are being killed by the poachers and hunters in many villages of the district, police and reports said on Wednesday. Following the recent snowfall poachers have became active in villages including Haihama, Kalaroos, Chokibal, Mawar, Bungus and upper reaches of Lolab Valley. At least seven musk deer, two each in Haihama and Kalaroos and three in Chokibal were killed by poachers in past few days, reports said. The musk deer is mainly killed for obtaining a strong smelling secretion, musk, produced by the glands of the animal. The musk is used in perfumes and many traditional medicines, making it one of the most valuable and costly products in the international market. A gram of musk costs between two to three dollars in international market, meaning that the pod of a single stag can easily fetch 70 dollars. The killing of the animal is banned under wildlife act. The snowfall and consequent shortage of food in the forests areas of the district have forced the animals especially the musk deer and jungle fowl including cock and chakoor to stray near the human habitats in search of food. “The animals are being killed in broad day light by the poachers but so far there has been no action from the wild life department or any other authority.” Reports said the hunting of cock and chakoor has also increased. “It (hunting of the birds) was going on for past one month but it has suddenly increased following the snowfall as the bird gets trapped in the snow and is unable to fly long distances or walk fast on the snow,” reports said. A police official in the district, wishing anonymity told Greater Kashmir that it is true that poachers and hunters have once again become active in the district. “This whole area is actually the den of hunters. Although police don’t have the confirmed reports about the poaching of musk deer but it is true that cock and chakoor are being killed by the hunters and even villagers in the district,” the police official said. He said number of birds have also fell prey to leopards, who were reportedly seen moving in many villages of Handwara for past many days. “The bright sun light in the snow has a blinding effect on the vision of these birds especially cock who either get trapped in the nets laid by the villagers or they are gunned down by the hunters,” the police official said. He said so far there has been no “serious action” by the forest department officials or the wild life department to stop the killing of animals. “At least two to three birds are killed everyday by the hunters,” the official said. Asked why wasn’t police taking any action against the culprits, the official said, “Police has the powers to take the action but they have not received any complaint by the authorities concerned regarding the issue.” When contacted, regional wild life warden (Kashmir) said the area doesn’t fall under his direct administrative control. “Police can also take action on their own under wild life protection act if any wild life crime is committed by anybody. So far we haven’t received any report but we will send a team to investigate the matter,” the official said.

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