KALAIGAON, April 4 - The recent ban on illegal wildlife trade and eating of meat of wild animals, birds and reptiles in China and Vietnam has been welcomed by nature loving people of Udalguri district.
China, known to be a market for illegal wildlife trade, banned this practice after the COVID-19 outbreak. Scientists have also declared that COVID-19 virus spread from the meat of pangolins and bats.
Unfortunately, illegal wildlife trade has been running in Udalguri district for many years, defying all wildlife protection laws. The Assam forest department and the BTC administration have been adopting a lackadaisical attitude and have never made attempts to stop such illegal activities.
The weekly market held on Saturday at Kabirali (10 km north of Kalaigaon town) on the way to Udalguri town is well known for the sale of meat of all kinds of wild animals and birds, including several endangered species like python, deer, pangolin, adjutant stork, jackal, fox, owl, monitor lizard, etc. A fully grown fox can fetch Rs 1,200 while monitor lizards are sold at Rs 300 per kg.
The market has caused great harm to wildlife conservation in the district. According to information, the meat market at Kabirali has been temporarily closed due to the nationwide lockdown, but is expected to open as soon as the lockdown is lifted.
People of Udalguri have now realised the need of closing such markets permanently. Wildlife experts said that most wild animals and birds are immune to COVID-19 or other viruses, but they could become carriers. People have demanded the BTC administration to stop this illegal market for good in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 or other viruses.
All Bodo Students� Union president Dipen Boro said that ABSU has been actively working to stop illegal wildlife trade in Assam as well as in BTAD and had been taking steps to create awareness among the people to stop old practices like hunting of birds and animals. He also requested the administration to take immediate steps to close the illegal wildlife market in the district.