Is there a correlation between the rise of industrial-scale poultry industry and the slowdown of wild bird poaching in Bangladesh? I was surprised when some villagers said there is a deep connection between the two seemingly uncorrelated events.
Industrial poultry farming grew to be an established industry in the country in the last 20 years. It is a multi billion dollar sector and poultry chicken meat is now the cheapest source of protein in Bangladesh, cheaper than even Pangas fish. Some villagers say the poultry chicken has become so cheap and so readily available at your doorstep that some people have stopped poaching birds to meet their protein need.
Decades ago chicken raised in home yards were not enough to meet the sudden demand of meat when a son in-law would visit his wife’s parents or a family would visit a cousin’s house. During those occasions, farmers would lay cage-traps or net in the bushes near their homes to catch wild birds such as Ghugus, Bok, Dahuk etc. I don’t know how many times I ate wild Bok when I visited my village back in the 1980s-90s.
But nowadays, whem a family visits a poor relative, poultry meat is readily available for the dinner. This is a whole new argument over the declining trend of bird poaching I just heard over the last few days. I am not too sure. But I heard that there was not a single incident of bird poaching this year.
Young people, who use smartphones and have access to news on national and international canpaign against poaching, however would point out that the number of wild bird killing has declined sharply owing largely to growing awareness about the importance of wildlife.
The result can be felt when you walk through leafy roads or spend half an hour in village bushes. The chirping and cooing of the birds are everywhere. The old Kullo (kind of raptor) is gone, but I was awestruck to rediscover some of the birds I haven’t seen for decades. Even the egret (bok) population is rising in some parts of the country despite depleting fresh water fish resources.
Bangladesh is changing rapidly. It is now more green, more bird-friendly and more wild despite the fact that paved roads have connected almost every part of the country with cities and towns.