Unabated hunting, trapping and selling of local and migratory birds in different upazilas of the district is posing a serious threat to nature and biodiversity.
Poachers get quite reckless during this period, January to April, every year as many birds across the border fly down to maize fields in flat wetlands to eat maize corns.
Bird hunting is rampant in bordering villages like Sarkarerhat, Bawra, Jamgram, Sreerampur, Jagatber, Hosnabad, Shafirhat, Vandardah and Munglibari in Patgram upazila, Singimari, Barakhata, Dawabari, Nawdabansh, Daikhawa and Bhelaguri in Hatibandha upazila, Chaparhat, Gorol, Dalgram, Kakina and Sreekhata in Kaliganj upazila, Durgapur, Kamlabari, Namuri, Dighaltari and Hajiganj in Aditmari upazila and Mogholhat, Karnapur, Bhatibari, Boshbari and Kulaghat village in Sadar upazila.
Poacher Azizar Rahman, 45, of Sarkarerhat village in Patgram upazila, said during this time of the year, mid-March to mid-April, a good number of parrots from India arrive here to eat maize, which make them an easy target for hunters.
“We sale each parrot for Tk 400 to Tk 600,” he said, adding that one can hunt three to five parrots in a day.
“We usually target dowki as this variety of bird likes to eat maize corn,” said Mobarak Hossain, 48, another poacher of Mogholhat village in Sadar upazila.
“Though we sale the birds openly on the streets, we never faced any difficulties,” he added.
Environmental activist Abdus Salam Bakul in Lalmonirhat town said poachers mainly hunt different local and migratory birds like dowki, pond heron (kani bok), doves, parrots, common mynah (shalik) and many other varieties.
Poachers are seen selling hunted birds openly in the markets or on the streets, he said, adding that due to lack of social awareness against bird hunting and rare legal action, hunters consider this an open period for hunting and selling birds.
According to the Wildlife (Conservation and Security) Act, 2012, killing any wild or migratory bird is a punishable offence, with a provision of maximum one year imprisonment and a fine of Tk 1 lakh.
The act also mentions that collecting, acquiring, purchasing, selling and transporting any wild or migratory bird is also an offence with a punishment of six months' imprisonment and a fine of Tk 30,000.
Lawyer Kamal Chandra Roy in Lalmonirhat court said despite strict provisions in the law, we see no action from the forest department and local administration.
Alongside strict laws, awareness is a must to stop illegal bird hunting, he added.
District Livestock Officer DLO in Lalmonirhat Saidur Rahman said his department has very limited human resources to fight against such poaching activities, but they were trying their best to stop the illegal act.