South Asian countries report rise in poaching cases during coronavirus lockdowns

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jul 09, 2020, 07.27 PM(IST)

Representational image Photograph:( Reuters )

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The poaching cases jumped sharply in India, Nepal and Pakistan

The South Asian region is battling to contain the spread of novel coronavirus and no positive trends have emerged so far. Several countries under this region were or are still under strict lockdowns to curb the outbreak. And a disappointing reality has come to fore, according to which poaching incidents in certain South Asian countries rose during the lockdown period.

The poaching cases jumped sharply in India, Nepal and Pakistan, and Bangladesh was the only exception that saw a decline in illegal hunting of animals in the lockdown period, reports DW.

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The report says Pakistan and Nepal confirmed a rise in the poaching of birds and endangered species from April to May this year.  

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Local forest officials in Baluchistan province said the poaching of birds had shot up as the area was an important resting point for migratory birds returning to Siberia from India. 

In Nepal, six musk deer were found dead in the Sangarmatha National Park, in what is seen as one of the worst poaching incidents. 

Various regions in India reported a spike in poaching cases and wild animals, leopards, desert antelopes, and rhinos were targetted, the report added. 

A one-horned rhino was shot down in the Kaziranga National Park, in northeastern India.

Despite the government's efforts to curb poaching activities, these remain an attractive business for hunters and officials believe since economic activities have taken a hit due to lockdown restrictions, illegal hunting is on a rise. 

Poaching also poses health risks to humans, causing diseases from wild animals. 

"There is a risk of zoonotic diseases spreading through these animals, especially the ones being used for meat. The more you tamper with nature, the more chances there are of spreading diseases," Latika Nath, author and wildlife conservationist, said.