Illegal bird trappers are poaching birds to earn a living. But bird-friendly youths are turning the tables, producing encouraging rise in bird numbers in northern Bangladesh.
At Khata Madhupur of Saidpur Sadar upazila in Nilphamari district, young volunteers of ‘Setubandhan’, an organisation dedicated to protecting birds, have waged a war.But their fight is not against another army, it is to save the birds from extinction – and the enemy is the poacher.
Thanks to the efforts of the youths for turning their village and its surrounding areas into a sanctuary for birds.
Recently, they caught a bird poacher red-handed and rescued a good number of wild birds. They also seized three traps used for catching birds from his possession.
The bird poacher was identified as Atiar Rahman, son of late Yakub Ali of Rambala village under Saidpur upazila. The villagers later handed over the miscreant to local police.
Police produced Atiar before the mobile court of executive magistrate Ahmed Mahbubul Islam, also an assistant commissioner of land in Saidpur upazila.
The court sentenced the bird poacher to six months’ imprisonment and asked him to pay a fine amounting to Tk 500.
The magistrate also ordered the law enforcers on the spot to burn the three traps used for catching birds and freed eight captured birds.
Khata Modhupur Union Parishad (UP) chairman Jewel Chowdhury said Atiar used to hunt birds in the marshy lands and paddy fields in and around Khata Madhupur village. Later, he sold the birds in bazaars at high prices.
Vigilant youths hunt down poachers to help save birds, the UP chairman said. Their achievement deserves appreciation, Jewel said. Alongside protection of birds, the villagers protect their crops with the help of birds which consume harmful insects. Actually, an alarm bell rings over illegal hunting of birds across the country.
Nineteen species of birds have become regionally extinct from the country. This was learnt from a Red List of Bangladesh published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Bangladesh country office on June 22, last year.
The red list was published as part of Bangladesh Forest Department’s project entitled ‘Strengthening Regional Cooperation for Wildlife Protection (SRCWP)’ funded by the World Bank.
Birds make up the highest number of regionally extinct species in Bangladesh. The 2000 Red List assessed two birds as extinct, while the latest Red List published in seven volumes of books declared 17 new bird species as regionally extinct.
Among the birds are the Greater Adjutant, known in Bangla as Hargila, the Red-headed Vulture, the Sarus Crane and two species of peacocks.