I witnessed a shocking incident at our village. Beautiful looking cranes were killed so that they can make for free snacks for the evening booze. Here is a photolog that describes the killing method.
We grow paddy at our farm. Paddy requires copious water and we flood the paddy field. This forms a nice breeding ground for frogs and crabs which attract lots of cranes.
One evening, three young men came to our farm and asked permission to cross our farm to go to the neighboring field. They were carrying some stuff in their hands and out of curiosity I asked them what they intended to do. They said they were out to hunt for cranes. Usually it is the NariKoravas (tribals) who hunt these birds and so I was surprised why these youngsters from the village were after the birds. Out of curiosity, I decided to follow them to see what they were up to.
One of the guys carried a packet of Megafuran, a powerful pesticide.
He emptied part of the packed into a plastic bottle and mixed it with water to form a violet coloured liquid. He warned that this liquid is dangerous enough to kill a man, let alone a crane.
They had brought with them a handful of earthworms. They put the earthworms in a plastic cup and poured the violet coloured pesticide into the cup full of writhing worms. Within two seconds, the worms went motionless. Instant death. Now, the guys have the bait ready for the cranes. What they do is quietly crawl to an area where the bunch of cranes feed and sprinkle these worms in a small area. They then clear the area and wait for the cranes to take the bait.
The cranes do not know to distinguish a dead poisoned worm from a live one. They quickly pick it and swallow it. Its astonishing how quick the poison works. Just like the earthworms, the cranes dropped dead within two seconds of swallowing the poisoned earthworms. So strong is the pesticide.
The guys then skin the crane and get it ready to be cooked. See how proudly he holds them up. I ask him if he wasn’t worried about eating a poisoned crane. He says that that’s why they quickly skin the crane and remove the intestines before the poison reaches the crane’s bloodstream.
I was surprised to see how little body mass that the cranes had. They look large and even larger when they are flying. But after skinning, they are puny. Less than 250 grams per crane.
The guys take this to the open space adjacent to the TASMAC (booze) shop, set up a fire and barbecue it. They buy booze and use this as snacks.
I was curious to know how come these killings happen so blatantly. Aren’t the cranes supposed to come under wildlife or similar such act? I learned that nobody actually complaints. The farm owners turn a blind eye and indirectly encourage the killing of the cranes because they trample the young crops and cause damage. Since no complaint is made, no action is taken. Folks in the village also told me that complaining is useless because the Police never take this seriously and will indignantly laugh it away.
I learned that last week, the same guys had killed 9 cranes from my farm alone. I politely but sternly told them never to enter my farm and its strictly off limits. They got the message but unfortunately I didn’t see an iota of regret in their eyes.
The milky white cranes add such beauty to the lovely green vista of the village. I really wish we can let them live in peace.