Gandhinagar: As many as 1,202 protected animals, birds and reptiles were killed in Gujarat between October 1, 2017 and September 30, 2020, the state government told the Legislative Assembly on Friday.
The government that at least 336 poachers were arrested in the state for hunting the scheduled animals, reptiles and birds in nearly two-and-a-half years.
Responding to an unstarred question by Congress MLA CJ Chavda, the state Forest Minister Ganpat Vasava said that eleven hunter gangs, were busted between April 2018 and September 2020 in Gujarat and action was taken against them under various sections of the Wildlife Protection Act.
Among wild animals and reptiles hunted include nine lions, eight leopards, 86 blue bulls, one crocodile, nine pythons, 17 turtles and three monkeys, he said.
In a reply to another unstarred question, the Forest Minister said that a total 17 people were killed and 120 injured in attacks by wild animals between 2019 and 2020.
"23 people were arrested for poaching migratory birds at Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary, one of India's largest wetland bird sanctuary located in the Ahmedabad district. Two of the poachers are still absconding," Vasava informed the house.
Among the wildlife which was destructed, there were corals too.Atotal of 83 sand corals were mentioned as poaching wildlife by the hunters.
"There is a myth that corals are believed to bring peace and prosperity. Some illegal collectors keep them as precious articles in their houses, believing that it will attract luck, prosperity, and peace," said Hemant Suthar, a retired forest official of Gujarat government.