Six men were arrested for allegedly poaching four common cranes from Hiran-II dam at Umrethi village near Talal in Gir (west) wildlife division on Saturday.
According to forest officers, two men riding a motorbike had an argument with a group of men in Lodhva village of Sutrapada taluka of Gir Somnath district early on Saturday.
“The bike-borne men picked up an argument with the group of residents of Lodhva over the manner in which they were driving their vehicles. The men on bike threw a jute bag they were carrying away on the roadside and sped away,” said HD Galchar, range forest officer (RFO) of Veral in Gir Somnath social forestry division, on Sunday.
“A while later, they came back and picked up the bag. Sensing something strange, the residents of Modhva alerted police who found that they were carrying four dead common cranes in the bag. Police alerted us and we arrested the duo,” Galchar The Indian Express.
The men were identified as Ismile Dhoki and Imran Radesha, both residents of Jaleshwar Bandar area in Veraval.
“During questioning, the duo confessed to have poached the cranes from the dam in Umrethi village. As the crime was committed in the Talala range of Gir (west) wildlife division, we handed the two men to officers of Talala range,” Galchar added.
Talala RFO Bimalkumar Bhatt said that besides Dhoki and Radesha, four others were also involved in the crime.
“We booked the duo for hunting of common cranes, the bird species included in Schedule-IV of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, after securing their custody from the officers of Veraval range. During interrogation, they revealed that four other men were also involved in the crime… they were also arrested,” Bhatt said.
Common cranes of central Asia visit Saurashtra and Kutch every winter. They roost in wetlands and grasslands in Gujarat before flying back to central Asia February-March.
Bhatt said that the six were released after they paid the compounding charge of Rs 25,000 each. “Prima facie, the two men who were arrested by the Veraval team were on their way to supply the poached cranes to someone. We are investigating if there is any commercial angle to this crime or they hunted the birds for self-consumption only,” the Talala RFO added.
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