Seven persons were arrested by officers of Gir East division forest in Amreli district after they allegedly hunted down a blue bull near Mitiyala Wildlife Sanctuary and tried to take away its meat for a feast on Wednesday. During a joint patrolling with local police, officers of Savarkundla range spotted two men carrying suspicious sacks on their backs on the fringe of Bagoya village at 1:30 am on Wednesday. The officers ordered the men to stop and on checking the bags, it was found that they each were packed with 10 kilogrammes of meat of blue bulls. The duo were identified Sumar Zakhra and Nurdiin Gullu, both residents of Bagoya village in Savarkundla taluka of Amreli district.
“During questioning, the duo confessed that they, with the help of five others, had hunted down a limping male blue bull on the bank of a nullah at around 10:30 pm for a feast. Later, the skinned the antelope and were carrying the meat to their homes in Bagoya when they were caught,” Ram Mor, range forest officer (RFO) of Savarkundla told The Indian Express.
The duo also led the police and the forest officer to the spot where they had killed the animal. Forest officers said they recovered hide of the blue bull and its bones from the place.
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Later in the day, forest officers arrested other five persons from Bagoya were also part of the group which hunted the blue bull. “All seven are residents of Bagoya and are farmers or agricultural labourers. They got together to kill the animal and feast on its meat. They have been arrested for illegally hunting a Schedule-III animal,” Mor further said.
Locally known as Nilgai, blue bull (Boselaphus tragocamelus) has been included in Schedule-III of The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and its illegal hunting can attract a jail term upto three years and monitory fine up to Rs25,000 or both. Forest officers said the place where the blue bull was hunted down was around three kilometres away from the border of Mitiyala Wildlife Sanctuary which is home to a few endangered Asiatic lions. Blue bulls are prey of lions and they also damage standing crops. But their hunting is very rare.
“We have checked antecedents of all the seven accused and have found no criminal past. They are claiming that they had killed a wild animal for the first time for a feast and were caught,” the RFO added.