Arrest of Bogari (Lark) Traders in Murshidabad

26 February 2023

Several species of Larks (bogari in Bengali) – migratory song-birds arriving from China, Russia and Mongolia – are a delicacy in Central West Bengal. These flock-forming birds are trapped en masse by poachers and supplied to local consumers and restaurants. These birds are protected under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and hunting them is illegal and punishable with imprisonment.

The culprits, Manjur Sheikh (left) and Minarul Sheikh
(right) in custody, along with the Larks they had caught

HEAL in collaboration with Wildlife Trust of India, conducted a project to curtail this destructive trade by coordinating closely with local informants to gather intel on the poachers and using this information to push for enforcement action. Acting on intel provided by local informers, on 26 February 2023, two key bogari traders were apprehended in Murshidabad, in a joint operation carried out by the Forest Department, Police and HEAL members.

The team raided the poachers’ house in Khargram, Murshidabad at around 9.15 pm on 26 February, 2023 and found 24 Larks comprising 17 Short-toed larks, 06 Oriental Skylarks and 01 Bengal Bushlark. The father and son duo – Manjur Sheikh and Minarul Sheikh – was arrested from their house and kept in police custody. On 27 February, the poachers were produced before the court which remanded them to 12 days in judicial custody.

It is hoped that this incident will act as a deterrent for local poachers and the consumers linked to this illegal trade. We thank the Murshidabad forest officials and the police personnel of Khargram police station for their active support and prompt action in apprehending the offenders. The incident was covered by The Telegraph. You can read the article here.