Gang of 16 poachers intercepted, fined by Wildlife Board

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ISLAMABAD, Sep 8 (APP) ::A gang of sixteen pleasure hunters with twenty gun dogs with them was intercepted by Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) on Yesterday night for their alleged hunting of endangered species in the Margalla Hills National Park.
“This was the 30th attempt of the illegal hunting in the Islamabad Capital Territory in a year for the sake of fun without permit which was foiled by the vigilant team of IWBM,” an official of the Board informed on Saturday.
Talking to APP, Assistant Director of IWMB, Sikhawat Ali said the poachers, who were in possession of sophisticated weapons and a pack of twenty hunting dogs, were besieged with the help of locals and police at H-9 forest area.They during the investigation revealed that they were hunting wild boars and their next destination to night was Margalla Hills Park. A fine of Rs 20,000 was imposed on them under section 5 and 6 of the Islamabad Wildlife (Preservation, Conservation and Protection) Ordinance, 1979, he added.
Sikhawat Ali said the gang was intending to hunt endangered Grey Gorals, Kalij Pheasants and Barking Deers at Margalla Hills Park to night, “Which was frustrated by our team”. It was further being investigated whether they were doing this for the sake of fun or smuggling, he added.
He said unfortunately weak laws were allowing these poachers set loose and a nominal amount of fine for hunting rare species was not helping to stop this illegal activity. A team of hunters was also arrested from Trail-3 some three months ago and was fined for capturing 13 species of birds.
There were credible information that a smuggling mafia was also involved in hunting at the Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP) and some endangered species were being lifted for commercial gains. The IWMB in response has enhanced its vigilance against poaching on account of such information, he added.
A citizen, who assisted IWMB team about poachers move, terming the Rs 20,000 fine to a gang of sixteen poachers insubstantial to protect wildlife, said “Only one Kalij Pheasant is sold from twenty to twenty five thousand rupees in open market.”
Another official of the IWMB said the barking deer and Kalij pheasant were the favourit animals for the commercial mafia and the illegal wildlife trade was 3rd largest business after smuggling and drugs dealing.
Sharing the last one year’s poaching record, the official told that as many as 30 cases were reported, out of which 29 were fined. The department lodged First Information Report in only one case under section 21 (4) of the ordinance at Bara Kahu Police station that was pending in the capital’s session court.
“Apart from the required financial assistance there was also a dire need to improve relevant laws to introduce rigorous punishment like Kenya to halt this unlawful activity with full force,” he suggested.
Rawal Lake, Shakarparian, Shahdra Zone, H-9 forested area and Bara Kahu are the hotspot of hunting, the official added.