Why symbol of peace is hunted down in Chitral?
CHITRAL, May 19: The hunting season of Russian turtle doves has started in the upper valleys of Chitral where the migratory birds are ruthlessly killed as the officials of wildlife department are least bothered to stop it. A community conservation worker from Terich valley, Hashim Baig, told this correspondent here that although dove was taken as an emblem of peace, the hunters in Chitral went after it mercilessly in the course of its migration from the neighbouring Central Asian states of Tajkistan and Uzbekstan in May every year. He said that the species of dove was included in the game birds which can be hunted by getting a shooting permit licence but one cannot shoot more than two doves a day while in practice the hunters far exceed the specified number. Mr. Baig complained that the unbridled hunters developed a craze and chased the flock to its annihilation in the highlands and pastures while a consummate hunter kills as many as one hundred doves in a single day. Larger in size than the oriental turtle doves as found in the plain areas of the country, the one migrating to Chitral from the adjoining areas of the Central Asian states are said to be threatened by extinction as their number is steeply decreasing every year. A biodiversity specialist, requesting not to be named, said that the unchecked and ruthless hunting is the sole responsible factor for the fast depleting population of the bird in Chitral. Regarding the migration of the bird to Chitral, he said that the breeding areas of the Central Asia received heavy and incessant rainfall in the months of April and May which forced the bird to the northern belts of Chitral and Afghanistan in search of food. He said that the breeding season starts on their return to the origin places in the month of June and their hunting in large number is jeopardizing their future population. He said that the hunting can be controlled effectively by community mobilization which has been practiced in the past.–Zahiruddin]]>