CHAKWAL: Two police officials from Jhelum police were caught by a team from the Jhelum district’s wildlife department with an official police vehicle carrying six Punjabi Urial fawns – an endangered species – meant for a judge, officials told Dawn on Wednesday. The fawns were between four and six days old.
According to sources in the wildlife department, Head Constable Mohammad Nazeer and Constable Ilyas – who were posted at the Jalalpur Sharif police station – were intercepted by wildlife supervisor Shamshad Hussain, Inspector Shair Ali, wildlife watcher Shakeel and Zamurad, the driver, at the Wildlife Picket in Jalalpur Sharif based on a tip.
Mr Nazeer initially misbehaved with the wildlife department personnel, a senior official said. When the officials searched the vehicle, they found six Urial fawns – three females and three males – in the custody of Mr Ilyas, who was police uniform, the official said.
The Jalalpur Sharif station house officer managed to get the mobile police van after assuring the wildlife officials he would present the vehicle whenever they demanded it.
The department’s director general, Khaled Ayaz, took note of the incident as well, and ordered legal action against both poachers. The assistant director also wrote to the district police officer (DPO) on April 5, demanding legal action against the two men.
The DPO suspended both police officials and ordered the registration of a case against them.
Meanwhile, the six fawns were presented before the court of civil judge Munaza Chaudhry, who ordered that the fawns be sent to the Lahore Zoo. An official said they have been handed over to officials of the Lahore Zoo and are in good condition.
The initial investigation showed that a judge asked the police officials for a fawn, and a local poacher who had managed to catch six fawns gave them all six, an official said.
The Salt Range region is considered a safe haven for the Punjabi Urial, which is an endangered species and isn’t found anywhere else in the world. Female Urials tend to have infants at this time of year, and April is considered breeding season.
Since it is easy to catch a fawn, local poachers catch and sell days old fawns at a rate of Rs10,000 to Rs15,000.
Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2016