Forest Dept. yet to take cognisance of illegal trade
Carcasses of black-naped hare, jungle cat and Asian palm civet suspended from hooks attached to bamboo poles in front of a row of houses greeted commuters passing through Koodapakkam Main Road in Villianur, a suburb of Puducherry, on Sunday morning. Unmindful of the illegality of the trade in wild meat, a man went about skinning the hare to be sold to waiting customers.
Members of the Narikorava tribe (a nomadic community) display the carcasses of the mammals and migratory birds listed under various schedules of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 without any fear of punishment. The Puducherry Forest Department remains blind to the illegal sale of meat of wild animals and birds in the open market, which remains busy with customers every Sunday.
The stretch between Villianur and Koodapakkam is dotted with makeshift stalls openly selling the meat of birds and mammals, which visit the Oussudu lake, notified as a bird sanctuary by the Centre in 2008.
The carcasses hanging in front of the houses are only samples of what is on offer.
A closer examination inside the houses revealed rows of monitor lizards and common mongooses with their limbs tied, and Alexandrine and rose-ringed parakeets cramped in rectangular cages covered with gunny sacks.
Sources said that the meat was sold only to regular customers and liquor shops at high prices.
“A kilogram of meat of monitor lizard fetches suppliers anywhere between ₹1,500 and ₹1,700, while the meat of Asian palm civet is available at ₹600 per kg. A pair of little egrets costs ₹300 while a pair of spot-billed duck is sold at ₹400,” he said.
A wildlife conservationist in Poothurai, Villupuram district, said while Narikoravas in Tamil Nadu were no longer involved in hunting of birds, tribes in Puducherry could not be weaned away from trade in wild meat.
When contacted G. Kumar, Chief Conservator of Forests, said Forest department personnel had been conducting frequent checks to curb poaching. “I will send a team immediately,” he said.