Wildlife department Sindh was successful this time in averting an illegal smuggling of 4 young gazelles and recovered them in small baskets at the Cantt railway station on Wednesday after an anonymous call to the Sindh wildlife department about the unlawful deal of the endangered desert gazelles. Mumtaz Soomro who was part of the incursion said that these species were moved from Bahawalpur via the Khyber Express as part of freight registered under fake names. He added that they were unfortunately unsuccessful to capture the group involved in the smuggling bid but department is in pursuit while showing off the gazelles being held in reserve in a protected room of the department’s Din Muhammad Wafai Road headquarters.
The squad was on the watch out at Landhi and Drigh Road railways stations as well. The smugglers had attempted to deceive the authorities by making certain the cargo was dropped on other side of the platform. â€œThey were not coming out of the baskets even when we had brought them to the place of work,â€ said another official. They are passive and docile as someone tried to tame them.
A man namely Shahid had reserved the spot on the train from Bahawalpur while another man named Amir was supposed to collect the gazelles in Karachi. These Gazelles are one-and-a-half years old and have been transported in two pairs of a male and female. One pair could charge around Rs40,000, said Soomro.
The figure of gazelles in the wild, mostly the Cholistan desert, has fallen drastically over the years due to unrestrained poaching and smuggling. Trading and hounding is prohibited and the Sindh wildlife department no longer issues licenses that permit people to keep them as pets, clarified Dr AA Qureshi, a former director of the Karachi Zoo and wildlife specialist. It is a native kind found in Bahawalpur, Khairpur and Thar. We used to have a lot of these. They are almost extinct now, he told The Express Tribune reporters. And they are very quick, tough to be caught. A gazelle’s leg is very thin and easily breaks if the animal is mishandled, he cautions. They are captured in groups from the wild in the most atrocious ways. Some die for the reason that of a broken neck or leg. Others can’t stay alive the journey overcrowded in small cabins. Wild Gazelles don not adapt to a change in environment and often stop eating in feedback. There is a community in the Middle East who are keen to pay a really good price for these species but nowadays even people in Karachi keep them as pets.
An FIR is yet to be recorded but the wildlife department Sindh will release the gazelles in Khirthar National Park. A possession permit for endangered and exotic species can easily be acquired for money in Karachi. The authorities hardly ever take action against personal zoos and those who keep such animals as pets in their houses.