Bathinda, November 26
Nomadic cat-hunters in the Malwa region have become quite active in recent years. They are a threat to wildlife, including cats, monitor lizards, rabbits, partridges and foxes, among other animals. These nomadic hunters have makeshift accommodations near common land of villages.
Residents of villages in the Goniana block of Bathinda said these nomadic cat-hunters (‘billemaar’ or ‘jogis’ as they are popularly called) leave from their shanties, along with their hunting dogs, and roam around in isolated areas and alongside the Sirhind canal among other places. They return in the evening with killed animals, including wild cats, rabbits, partridges, foxes or monitor lizards, which they cook and eat in the evening.
Wildlife activists in the region have expressed their resentment against killing of animals by nomadic cat-hunters for a long time but barely any action has been taken against them over the years while the illegal practice continues unabated.
Lakhbir Singh Sidhana, a social activist, along with other members, raided and recovered six dead wild cats from nomadic hunters near Sirhind canal, adjacent to Mehraj village, on Friday. Sidhana has exhorted residents of the district to not let these nomadic hunters enter or roam freely in their villages so that lives of wild animals could be saved.
Another wildlife activist Gurvinder Sharma said, “If wild animals, which are on the verge of extinction not protected today, then those days aren’t far when the next generation will not be able to see or even know about them. These nomadic hunters have taken lives of thousands of wild animals over the years. It’s high time that the state government takes strict action against them.”
Sonu Maheshwari, another animal welfare activist, said, “If villagers spot any animal hunter, the Forest Department and the authorities concerned must be informed.”
Forest Range Officer Gursewak Singh said, “We have recovered dead cats from hunters near the Sirhind canal area on Friday. After conducting their medical examination, the case has been given to the Phul police station. The police have arrested three persons and further investigation is on.”
Dead cats recovered near sirhind canal
We recovered dead cats from hunters near the Sirhind canal area on Friday. After conducting their medical examination, the case has been transferred to the Phul police station. — Gursewak Singh, forest range officer
Villagers should be vigilant
If villagers spot any animal hunter, the Forest Department and the authorities concerned must be informed so that they can be booked under the Wildlife Protection Act. — Sonu Maheshwari, animal welfare activist