The two alleged poachers caught with 60 live birds in Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary Sunday night have confessed they had earlier sold wild birds to various restaurants in Ahmedabad city,said a forest official overseeing their interrogation after a Limbdi court remanded them to a seven-day remand under the forest department on Monday.
Meanwhile,the poachers also revealed their modus operandi of catching the birds alive. They would catch dragonflies and,once these die,insert granules of phorate (an insecticide sold for agricultural use) into the insects bodies and leave these out in the open for the birds to feed on. Upon consumption,the birds would be temporarily paralysed,and the poachers would then break their wings and legs so they do not escape once the drugs effects wear off.
Dr Aruna Dewan,a practicing toxicologist earlier with the National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH),confirmed phorate in small amounts does lead to muscle weaknesses and temporary paralysis without being fatal.
Dr K Sasikumar,Deputy Conservator of Forests,Nalsarovar Wildlife Division,Sanand,said the poachers admitted they had been selling various kinds of birds from the 120 sq km protected wetland and sell them for human consumption in various restaurants in Ahmedabad city.
They have refused to reveal the names of the restaurants,but the huge number of birds they were found with shows there must be many restaurants. We hope to get more details as interrogations continue, he said.
Forest officials also raided the homes of the accused but found nothing substantial. They could not detain one of the poachers father,a man suspected to have been involved in the illegal trade for several decades.
Dr Sasikumar said they had been able to get the names of eight other traders apparently associated with the duo,and would be questioning them in the coming days.
Meanwhile,the states Wildlife Warden,C N Pandey,said the department aims to establish the entire chain of poachers,traders and restaurants involved in the illegal trade and take legal action against them.