Chilka lake in Orissa has become a poacher's delight. The railway station in the sleepy town of Bhusandpur, the gateway to the lake, has become a thriving market for birds caught in and around the lake.
Rafi, one of the traders who has been in business for several years, says, "On an average I get five birds a day. The catch goes up in winters when lakhs of birds throng Chilka from far off places." Nearly 2 million birds arrive in Chilka between November and February every year. The high demand for bird meat, a delicacy in places like Bhubaneshwar and Balugaon, has given a boost to poaching. Chilka divisional forest officer Janardhan Pradhan expressed the department's helplessness in curbing poaching. He complained of having a staff of only 33 forest guards. Moreover, being unarmed, the guards are vulnerable to attack by poachers, he said.
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