GOLAKGANJ, Sept 23 � A new group of poachers have entered the illegal trade here.
They have extended their areas of operation to new bird-animal habitats and have adopted innovative methods to trap, maim or kill their unsuspecting prey, sources said.
In most of the reserve forests of Dhubri district, valuable birds like peacocks, white-winged wood duck, pheasant, dove, drake, gander and kingfishers, besides several species of animals are under increasing pressure from poaching, which when combined with traditional problems like habitat loss, is today proving to be a genuine threat to the quickly dwindling avian and faunal populations.
Shyamol Sannal, a social worker of Dhubri revealed that poaching of deer for venison, a relatively new phenomenon in Dhubri district, has become a thriving business in the shady underworld circles of society. Without any official mechanism to curb the illegal trade with an iron hand, the poachers these days are laughing their way to the bank.
As per reports available, several deer have been brutally killed for venison in recent times.
For the record, during 2012-13, at least 21 deer were poached at Kazigaon in Bashabri Reserve Forest either by a revitalised gang of poachers or by a new group altogether. The methods used for killing the herbivores are shooting, poisoning, electrocution and the traditional bow and arrow.
Poaching affects birds and animals in more than traditionally understood ways. It disrupts breeding, causing fights between young bulls and older males. Gun shot wounds weaken the animals, forcing them to turn to crop raiding as an easy way of getting food. It increases natural deaths, which owe their occurrence to human inflicted causes. It even changes migration patterns.
The international trade in the skin of animals in both Bangladesh and Dhubri has picked up in recent times. New markets too are reportedly emerging. However, international trade recorded an 85 per cent drop between 2012 and 2013. Being softer and more workable, the skin of an animal from Dhubri commands a higher price in the Bangladeshi market.