Hunters allegedly killed a blue bull in Padampar village of Rapar taluka in Kutch district late on Saturday, however, they managed to flee when villagers came to know about the incident and intervened. Forest officers said they were probing if the meat of the ungulate was to be supplied to some roadside hotels in the area.
Forest officers of Kutch said that the hunters isolated a male blue bull, also called nilgai and roz, in the government wasteland in Padampar village on Saturday evening. “The hunters then killed the antelope with some sharp weapons. After getting information about the incident, villagers rushed to the spot in an attempt to prevent the killing and to catch the poachers. However, by the time the villagers reached the crime scene, the hunters had already killed the animal and even started cutting it,” Vasudev Joshi, in-charge range forest officer (RFO) of Rapar south range forest told The Indian Express on Sunday.
The RFO further said after seeing the villagers approach, the hunters ran away. “A post-mortem of the carcass of the blue bull has concluded that the animal was killed between 6 pm and 7 pm on Saturday. But sensing trouble, the hunters ran away as villagers intervened. We also scanned the surrounding area last night but the search did not yield any positive result. The search is on to nab the hunters,” Joshi added.
Blue bulls are the largest antelope species in Asia. It has been included in Schedule-III of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. It’s hunting can lead to imprisonment of up to three years and fine of up to Rs 25,000. Officers said the hunters struck at a very isolated place. “The spot where the blue bull was killed is a type of shrub land with isolated agricultural fields around. It is about 25 kilometres away from the Nilapar reserve forest, the nearest protected forest area,” added the RFO.
Rapar south range is a part of the Kutch east forest division. Forest officer said the area has native population of blue bulls, Indian gazelles or chinkara etc.
“We have registered a case of hunting of blue bull against unidentified persons. We are also investigating the case from the angle if the antelope was hunted down to supply its meat to hotels in the area,” added Joshi.
Incidentally, Rapar south range had reported a case of Indian gazelle and a peacock four year ago.