SUBJECT :Fishermen in five villages of Nadia’s Tehatta have mounted on a vigil to protect from poachers migratory birds visiting a huge lake between November and March. 

Members of the Shyamnagar-Chitka Fishermen’s Cooperative Society sail on a boat to keep a watch on migratory birds at Damos bill in Tehatta. Picture by Swapna Bhattacharyya.

Tehatta (West Bengal), March 1, 2018: Fishermen in five villages of Nadia’s Tehatta have mounted on a vigil to protect from poachers migratory birds visiting a huge lake between November and March.

Since November last year, the fishermen are standing guard at the 55- acre Damos Lake in Fataipur village round the clock.

The fishermen have also launched an awareness programme so that residents can spot poachers and hand them over to police.

The fishermen took this initiative in October last year after witnessing a large number of migratory birds falling victim to poachers earlier in the year. They called a meeting and vowed to protect the birds.

"Every winter, we find poachers shoot down the birds with airguns. This pained us a lot. From this year, we plan to protect the birds and not allow poachers kill any bird. We have also involved local villagers so they can also pitch in to help us. Forest officials have also extended their support to us, " Achintya Mandal, one of those keeping watch, said.

A forest official said the Damos lake was a nature lovers ' destination between November and March when various kinds of migratory birds flock to it. The feathered guests include Asian open bill stork, lesser whistling ducks, snipes and red crested pochards.

Divisional forest officer (Nadia- Murshidabad) Rana Dutta lauded the fishermen’ s initiative. “This is a great effort by the fishermen. We have also extended full support to them when we came to know about their initiative.

We circulated leaflets among villagers encouraging them to come up to protect the birds " . Mandal said that these birds with their arrival enhance beauty of the lake every year during this season.

"In January 2017, they killed large number of birds using air guns and slingshots.

Now we watch the shores of the lake and the surrounding greenery even when we take out our boats into the lake and catch fish, “said Mandal.

Other fishermen like Sarifuddin Seikh, Zibrail Mandal, and Chaitanya Mandal said they had divided the large lake into seven zones and engaged one boat for each segment to maintain vigil.


Source: The Telegraph India