NORTH LAKHIMPUR, May 24 � Even as the world observed the World Day for Biological Diversity on May 22, hunters were trapping and killing exotic wild birds in and around North Lakhimpur for their flesh and perverse entertainment.
On May 23, a man was found carrying a yellow-green bird, tied to a string, and displaying it with pride to onlookers near the playground of the North Lakhimpur Government HS School where a Bihu function was going on. He claimed that he had caught the bird with the help of his pet dog as it fell off a tree after being hit by his catapult. When some nature lovers asked the man to release the bird, he left the place with the bird in a hurry.
There has been a rising number of similar incidents of trapping and killing of exotic wild birds on the outskirts of North Lakhimpur. The birds that are most targeted are yellow-footed green pigeons, locally called haithas. It is believed that this bird, which never sits on the ground, becomes powerless once it falls on the ground due to various reasons including injuries. Hundreds of such birds are trapped or killed every day in the northern suburbs of North Lakhimpur where they come for food during this season.
According to Dr Prabal Saikia, chief researcher of Agriculture Ornithology, AAU, Lakhimpur, the yellow-footed green pigeons come in large flocks to tall trees of the ficus class on the foothills of Arunachal Pradesh inside Lakhimpur district during the spring season. The trees of the ficus family � the sacred fig and the banyan � bear their fruits during April-May and this attracts the birds from the neighbouring hills to Lakhimpur, Dr Saikia pointed out. This is also their breeding season.
However, unscrupulous persons are taking advantage of the season to trap and kill these birds for their flesh. This has been going on unabated in the northern suburbs of North Lakhimpur from Leelabari to Rangajan. Bird lovers and conservationists of Lakhimpur district have urged the departments concerned to take action to prevent the cruelty against these exotic birds.