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Karnataka: Forest poachers kill 11 peacocks using poisonous seeds in Belagavi; here what the law states

In Belagavi, Karnataka, hunters killed 11 peacocks using poison seeds, violating laws protecting the national bird. Villagers confronted the poachers, who escaped into the Krishna River. Despite previous incidents, the forest department took no preventive measures. RFO Prashanth Guarani faced criticism. One suspect, Manjunath Pawar, was arrested. Killing peacocks under the Indian Forest Act of 1972 results in a minimum 3-5 year jail term and a Rs. 50,000 fine.

Karnataka: Forest poachers kill 11 peacocks using poisonous seeds in Belagavi; here what the law states vkp
First Published Jan 13, 2024, 3:34 PM IST

In Karnataka’s Belagavi, which is known as the second capital of the state, a group of hunters mercilessly killed 11 national birds, peacocks, in Manjari village of Chikkodi taluk. The perpetrators used poison seeds to capture the majestic birds for their meat, violating laws that strictly protect the national bird.

While the law permits the consumption of meat from animals like chickens, sheep, and goats, peacocks are explicitly safeguarded. Despite the legal provisions, some individuals seem to harbour a fantasy about repeatedly killing and consuming peacocks. In a gruesome revelation, it is suspected that the seeds used to poison the peacocks were also a part of their diet when they came to feed on seeds.

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The villagers of Manjari confronted the poachers when they discovered the heinous act, and a chase ensued. The criminals managed to escape by leaping into the Krishna River, leaving behind their bikes parked on the riverbank. Swiftly, the villagers reported the incident to the forest department officials, expressing their anger against Range Forest Officer (RFO) Prashanth Guarani.

This is not the first time such an incident has occurred in the region. Earlier, peacocks were killed in the fields of the village, and despite the villagers reporting it to the forest department, no preventive measures were taken. Consequently, 11 peacocks fell victim to poaching once again.

The forest department officials, upon reaching the spot, promptly sent the deceased peacocks for post-mortem examination. The villagers are outraged, particularly at the perceived negligence of RFO Prashantha Guarani and the forest officials.

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The forest department staff managed to arrest one of the accused involved in the peacock killings. The arrested individual, identified as Manjunath Pawar, works in a brick factory. His accomplice, however, remains at large. It was revealed that the culprits used poison seeds to lure and capture the peacocks, resulting in the tragic demise of all 11 birds.

What does the law say?

As per the Indian Forest Act of 1972, killing or poaching a peacock is a punishable offence. The national bird holds a special place in the country's biodiversity, and any act of harming or killing them attracts severe penalties. Offenders can face a minimum jail term of 3-5 years and a fine of Rs. 50,000. The forest department remains vigilant to curb such incidents, as peacocks are often hunted for their meat and feathers.

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