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Wildlife department bans birds’ trapping, trade

Updated February 12, 2019

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A MAN sells sparrows in a net pouch. Such cruel scenes are witnessed across the city as vendors goad people to set free trapped birds as sadqa (charity).—White Star
A MAN sells sparrows in a net pouch. Such cruel scenes are witnessed across the city as vendors goad people to set free trapped birds as sadqa (charity).—White Star

KARACHI: The Sindh wildlife department banned on Monday birds’ trapping, trade and transportation of all kinds of wild animals, withdrawing all trapping permits earlier issued by the department.

“Under the provision of Section 7 (sub-sections iii and v) of the Sindh Wildlife Protection Ordinance 1972, the hunting and poaching of wild animals (including all kinds of birds) through the use of net, snare, bhagwa, or any other trap is strictly restricted.

“The permits (if any) previously issued by Sindh wildlife department for trapping of any kind of birds are hereby cancelled forthwith,” says a notification.

It also prohibits trade and transportation of all kinds of wild animals.

“The wild animals and birds so confiscated shall be released in nature without unnecessary delay through transparent prescribed procedure. The offences shall be prosecuted and penalised as per the provisions of Sindh Wildlife Ordinance 1972,” the notification says.

Notification is not applicable to game birds

The notification, however, is not applicable to game birds (partridges and ducks) which are hunted under a license in the winter season.

Explaining this point, wildlife conservator Javed Mahar said that the order is specifically meant to discourage bird’s trapping carried out throughout the year.

“Unlike game birds whose hunting with specific guns is allowed for two months in selected areas through a license and with a bag limit of 10, the license for trapping birds (sparrows and mynah) was for a year with no bag limits.

“This permission issued on a nominal fee was being widely misused and hunters were trapping all kinds of birds, including ducks and parrots, causing serious damage to the ecosystem,” he said.

These birds, he pointed out, were then transported to all parts of the country for illegal trade.

To another question, he said the hunting period for partridge (a game bird) was over whereas the shooting period for ducks would end this week.

According to Mr Mahar, the notification has been forwarded to the director general Rangers as well as police so that they could play their role and help protect wildlife.

The general public, he noted, could also help rescue animals by informing the wildlife department about any illegal activity involving animals.

Sources said that a trapping permit should be issued after population of birds and threats they faced in a specific area had been assessed through a scientific survey.

The department, however, had been allowing people to trap birds without carrying out such an exercise. The record, however, revealed that no data of trapped birds was maintained either by the wildlife department or by permit holder.

The reasons behind the department’s failure in properly executing their responsibility was an acute lack of technical expertise in the department, shortage of staff and funds.

Published in Dawn, February 12th, 2019