During the winter, hundreds of migratory birds from Siberia fly south make their way to Pakistan but they are being illegally hunted in Thatta.
The poachers either hunt them with guns or using nets. They play recorded bird sounds all night near lakes and ponds to attract the birds. When a flock of bird arrives, it is caught in the nets.
The birds’ wings are clipped and they are sold in the market for between Rs300 and Rs1,000.
These birds flee the freezing habitats in Syberia and other Central Asian countries and make their way towards the coastal areas of Pakistan, including Badin, Thatta and Sajawal. The birds pass through Kazakhstan and Afghanistan, a route known as the Green Route or Indus Flyway.
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The wetlands in Sindh provide a suitable habitat for the birds and they feed on fish. Every year, around 900,000 birds arrive in Pakistan from different parts of the world but there was an 8% decline in 2018, according to experts.
Adnan Ahmed, deputy conservator at the Sindh Wildlife Department, said that some cases of illegal hunting are reported and they take action against the hunters.
The department, however, is short on staff and mainly looks after the Keenjhar and Haleji lakes. They can’t keep a check on all the lakes and ponds in the province.
Pakistan has banned the hunting of endangered and migratory birds. These migratory birds are not only an important part of the ecosystem, but also add beauty to the lakes as birdwatchers come to see them.