Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'
Poisoned chicken to kill off a resurgent population of vultures may be, according to some press reports, a ploy by some real estate developers to eliminate the endangered species and get the sanctuary status for the area rescinded.
On a recent visit to Ramadevarabetta Vulture Sanctuary along with my friends Hrishikesh and Preetham, we came across a group of miscreants who were caught red-handed while trying to poison vultures at the sanctuary. Five of them were caught by the local Iruliga tribe while they were trying to poison vultures using chicken meat. An insecticide called PHORATE was applied to the chicken meat and dispersed near the vultures nests. The motive behind hunting these vulture was not clear. However, during interrogation, they fabricated a story in which they said the chicken meat with poison was used just to lure the vultures to click photographs using their cell phones.
Local tribal people started noticing suspicious deaths of dogs and monkeys around the village with chicken and fish meat lying around. On a couple of earlier occasions, a few local kids had seen these poachers in a rickshaw and also resting at the nearby hills. This time, when the perpetrators arrived at the hills, the tribes, along with head of the community, nabbed them and found them carrying fresh chicken meat & insecticide. Six miscreants were caught red-handed. However, one of them managed to escape. News was given to the forest department officers, who made no delay in reaching the location and taking control over the situation.
Coincidentally, we were present at the location when the culprits were caught. Immediately, we called the local media who covered the news. According to the locals, similar incidents had occurred in the past but had gone unnoticed. We thought the media could help spread awareness in this matter and would push the concerned authorities to take stringent action to prevent such incidents from happening in future.
Though forest department has formed a committee by involving the local Iruliga tribes to look after the surroundings of the sanctuary, they still need to implement a lot of measures to avoid similar incidents.
All five culprits are now in custody and the investigation is on going.