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Bird hunter turns conservationist, helps forest department 

Punya Priya Mitra

Bhopal: Once an avid bird hunter, a 40-year-old tribal from Madhya Pradesh has become a conservationist and compiled comprehensive data to help the forest department protect different feathered species.

Mogia tribal Ganpat Chouhan never went to college but has a 40-page booklet on the Francolins and Quails — commonly known as Teetar and Bater — to his credit.

Before he followed the path of conservation, Ganpat was a bird hunter like most of his fellow Mogia tribals residing in Ujjain’s Surajpura village.

“But even when I hunted Teetars and Baters, I was always against those who slaughtered them just for fun. I believed one should only hunt according to his need.”

Ganpat altered his path in 2004 when he chastised one of his fellow tribal for killing excessive number of birds and was asked why he had not given up hunting himself.

“It was then that I decided to stop hunting and practice what I preached,” he said.

“I started studying the habits of these birds and noting them down in my diary. Soon, I came in contact with forest officials who were impressed by my knowledge and the then CCF Ujjain, PC Dubey, asked for my data to be compiled in a systematic manner,” he said.

Ganpat’s booklet, which he compiled over a year, also contains the three common ways that are used to trap Teetar and Bater species.

This, in turn, helped the forest department curb poaching.

“We were aware that Teetars and Baters were found in this region, but did not know much about their habitat . Ganpat’s pioneering study has helped us get a better understanding,” said Dubey, now the additional principal chief conservator of forest.

Indore based ornithologist Ajay Gadikar, who assisted Ganpat in compiling and collating the data, said the tribal’s work was creditable.

“His work is genuine and reinforces what is already known about these birds,” Gadikar said.

(Source: The Hindustan Times)

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