The officials have rescued over 100 consignments of different birds over the last three weeks
KARACHI: The transport of endangered bird species from other parts of the country to Karachi and vice versa, seems to have no end despite strict surveillance.
A raiding party of the Sindh Wildlife Department (SWD), with the help of Sindh Rangers, seized 20 rare cranes from a passenger coach on Wednesday night. One of the birds died due to suffocation. The raid was conducted at Jamshoro Toll Plaza.
The officials, acting on a tip-off, searched a passenger coach, bearing registration number Z-5981, headed towards Bannu, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The birds were being kept in cages under the last seat of the coach.
Two smugglers, Mustafa Khan and Javed Khan, were arrested and are being detained at Hussainabad police station, Hyderabad. The birds were hunted in different areas of Balochistan and were being transported to Bannu where their demand is very high.
Officials of the SWD say there is no market for cranes in Sindh, but people in different areas of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, not only keep cranes at their homes but also smuggle them out of Pakistan.
Most smugglers transport the cranes to Karachi or other areas through public transport. An official of the SWD told The Express Tribune that all kinds of birds and endangered animals are mostly shifted to Karachi first. “It is an endangered species. Its trade and transportation from one location to another is illegal,” said the in-charge of the raiding party, Wajid Ali Shaikh. He added that the investigation is underway and the smugglers will be fined accordingly. “The property [birds] has been seized but we have to decide how much they should pay for transporting the rare birds,” he said.
Explaining the condition of the birds, Shaikh said that the smugglers have cut their wings. “They can’t fly now,” he said. The cranes will be kept at the rehabilitation centre at the Hyderabad office for the time being, he added.
According to officials, the price of a pair is between Rs20,000 to Rs25,000 in the local market. According to the SWD Act 1972, the fine on each smuggler will be about Rs15,000.
The same party seized 78 cranes from different passenger coaches on October 21 last year. The birds were kept at the Booharki Wildlife Safari located in Badin district for a few months. Later, they were released into their habitat in district Bannu, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
More than 100 different kinds of birds, including saker falcons, have been seized at Jamshoro Toll Plaza in the last three weeks. “The checking system at this point is very strong. No one can cross this area carrying birds and animals,” said an official.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 16th, 2015.