Even as avian visitors throng Chilika lagoon in thousands, hunting of the migratory birds has reared its ugly head. The wildlife authorities on Sunday detected the first case of poaching and arrested a person from Balipatpur.
The Tangi Range of Chilika Wildlife Division seized a dead Open Bill Stork from Nimai Mandal, a local villager. A snare and net were also recovered from his possession. Balipatpur is located near Bhushandapur where the birds roost in large numbers.
This year, about 1.70 lakh birds have already converged at Chilika. Of them, 1.3 lakh are in the 16-sq km Nalabana Sanctuary. Currently, wigeons are in the majority.
Anticipating bird hunting, the Chilika Wildlife Division has set up 17 camps along the shoreline with more than 50 forest personnel manning them. Ten of these camps have been set up in Tangi Range where the possibilities of poaching are higher.
Since these birds end up as food at roadside eateries, the wildlife officials have also set up surveillance at multiple places.
“We have drawn up a list of hunters and kept a tab on their movements using our intelligence network,” said an official.
The Wildlife Wing as well as Chilika Development Authority, in the past, have tried, with some success, to draw out the habitual poachers and used them for conservation by offering alternative livelihood sources.