The Punjab Wildlife Protection Department has given a limited permission for hunting waterfowls, said Deputy Director Naeem Bhatti.
The Punjab government has allowed limited permission for hunting of the birds, he said. According to a circular, permission for hunting of waterfowls has been allowed under the daily limit specified in schedule 1 of the Wildlife Act. However, hunting is completely banned in wildlife sanctuaries and national parks, he clarified. Those with the special permit from wildlife and parks director general are allowed to hunt under the given conditions. The licensed individuals are allowed to hunt waterfowls on Saturdays and Sundays between October 1, 2018, and March 31, 2019.
The field staff and protection force of the wildlife department have been issued alerts, asking them to monitor hunting activities and ensure that specified hunting limits are respected. According to the Wildlife Act, those engaging in violations could face fines between Rs20,000 and 30,000 or imprisonment between one and five years. The authorities may also confiscate the vehicles and weapons used by the violators.
Migratory birds from Siberia and Central Asia, including herons, falcons, bustards, and quails are flocking to various parts of Punjab and these seasonal birds will keep coming in until the end of October.
A large number of migratory birds make way to Chashma, Tonsa, Panjand, Tarimo and Rasool barrages, he said. Thousands of birds also take refuge in Pedbaloki, Khanki, Sulemaniki, Qadirabad and Marala regions while a large number of birds also rest up in lakes located in various parts of the province.
According to a survey of International Union for Conservation of Nature, over a million migratory birds come as far as 4,500 kilometres enter Pakistani regions to stay at water in Nowshehra, Tando Dam, Kohat, Swat, Chitral, Tarbela and Mangla dams and parts of Punjab, including Chashma and Tonsa barrages, Achahli Complex, Hedmarala, Qadirabad Rasool, Rajbaho and lakes of different sizes.
As per an international survey, the migratory birds take one of the seven different routes to reach various countries, said Bhatti. He added that the route taken by birds to enter Afghanistan, Pakistan and India is known as Indus Flyway. The waterfowls and many other birds migrating from the cold deserts of Siberia fly over Kazakhstan and take the route of Afghanistan or Iran before entering Pakistan. This route is also known as the green route. On the other side, birds migrating from eastern Siberia take up the route from Tibet and Laddakh to enter India.