Baramulla: After the recent heavy snowfall in Kashmir valley, besides leopards and black bears venturing into residential areas in search of food, several wild birds have also been visiting in search of food. The locals are using this opportunity to either kill the birds for meat or capture them for sale at high rates.
The Wan Kakur (wild rooster and its female) and Kakov (chukar) partridge are the locals’ two most favourite wild birds for their meat. Hundreds of people in winter go to nearby forests in search of these birds and sell their meat or the alive birds at high rates.
The price of a poultry bird is around 100 to 200 rupees but the price of wild birds like cocks and chakoors is 1500 to 2000 rupees. There are many people willing to pay such prices and feel a sense of pride in doing so.
Reports say that in several areas of north Kashmir, mostly in the upper belt of Kupwara, Handwara, Rafiabad, Uri and Tangmarg, hunters are going to forests and killing or capturing these birds, who cannot run on the snow-covered hills. A wild hen also can’t see properly in the snow because its reflection blinds the bird’s eyes. Musk dears, Markhor and wild goats are some other animals who have been killed in large numbers in the past ten years by hunters. Their meat is sold to wealthy people in cities and towns at very high rates.
Another bird, Western Tragopan, which inhabits the wildlife sanctuary in Limber, Uri, in Baramulla district, has been killed by hunters in large numbers in past years.
Local people say that the meat of wild birds is much more tasty than of domestic birds, which is the reason people pay high rates for it and feel a special delight in eating birds such as Wan Kakur or Kakov.
A wildlife official said that there is complete ban on the hunting/ killing of all deer species, Markhors, wild goats Tragopans, wild cocks, and other wild birds. “Hunting/killing of every wild animal or bird is banned. These birds and animals are visiting nearby residential areas in this season in search of food but people should not kill them; it is completely illegal,” the wildlife official told Kashmir Reader.