Monday, September 15, 2008

Indian deer 'often poached for meat at feasts'

Mon 08 September 2008 13:00 UK — Asia

Picture for article Wildlife experts from India have confirmed that while lions are generally killed only by professional poachers, there is a serious problem with local people hunting rare deer for meat.

The Times of India reported that one conservationist working in the Gir Forest National Park in Gujarat explained that rare chinkara - or Jabeer gazelle - are typically killed by local villagers preparing to celebrate important feasts.

Navin Bapat said that such killings were common but rarely reported.

"In the past, Kutchi community people would gather on Dhuleti day and move out in the jungle hunting whatever animal came their way. The people would later feast on the game in the evening," he told the paper.

Mr Bapat said that incidents of chinkara poaching had died down in recent years, suggesting that messages about strict punishments were beginning to be understood.

Indeed, Jugal Tiwari, another wild life activist, told the paper that only a "handful of anti-social elements" were now still poaching.

"These are rare instances, but when they come to light the forest officials should take them seriously and punish those guilty," he added.

Last week, two young people were arrested in India for illegally selling the skins of a number of rare deer.

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