Sunday, 21 December, 2008

Hawk shot on suspicion of ‘spying for Pak’ by BSF

Red Ring

CAN birds identify national borders? Yes…if the claims of Indian border security forces are anything to go by. The Indian BSF jawans caught a spy-hawk fitted with a transmitter - generally used as a directional finder by hunters - near border town of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan on December 6. This was the second time that the border security has caught a hawk on suspicion of spying.

A Pakistan sponsored spy hawk fitted with an antenna and other equipment was caught by BSF personnel at Shahgarh-Balj in this border district of Rajasthan, BSF officials told media adding it was first seen on an electric pole by BSF officials and it later landed on their vehicle in search of probably food and water.

DIG BSF (Rajasthan Frontier) R C Dhyani told media said that 38th Battalion of BSF men deployed at Kheru Wala border outpost spotted the hawk. He said the hawk is fully trained and had flown into the border along with another bird, which was injured with a gunshot. As the injured bird fell near the BSF post, the hawk also sat down after which it was caught. The brown colour bird has been trained by the experts, it has tags attached to its feet, and authorities are now planning to hand them over to a zoo.

During technical inspection officials detected that the bird was fitted with an antenna and there was no camera as suspected earlier. A hawk fitted with transmitter was caught in similar condition in 2006 and 2007 also but was later found to be only a directional finder. Last catch was in March 6, 2000.

Experts however say that these trained birds which cost lakhs of rupees are owned by royal families of Saudi Arabia, who are reportedly present in Pakistan to hunt rare species of birds. The sources said they used the trained hawk to hunt for the rare bird species, like Siberian Crane and others. Trained hawk chases rare species of birds and injures them, after which hunters track them using transmitters and catch them. It also informed that antenna worth Rs 7-8 lakh is installed on the bird. Training costs over Rs 2-3 lakhs thus totalling the cost to approximately Rs 10 lakh.

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