After an evening of drama, tonight the Beijing police arrested two poachers on my local patch. Returning home at about 5pm I decided to go to the roof of my apartment block to scan for illegal mist nets. To my surprise there were two guys putting up nets in the same area as on Friday! It was just a few days after I discovered, and took down, some illegal mist nets and told the poacher that if I saw him again I would send his photo to the police. And yet here he was again, with a friend, in exactly the same spot. He can’t say he wasn’t warned!
After a quick phonecall the police were on their way and, this time, they would catch the poachers red-handed. One had a Japanese Sparrowhawk and, as I led the police to the spot, the poacher inadvertently walked straight towards us with his illegally caught bird of prey on his wrist. He was so shocked to see us that he froze, allowing one of the officers to grab him by the scruff of the neck. After a few choice words the poacher led the police to the mist nets and it was here that they apprehended, after a brief attempt to flea, the second poacher. After taking photos for evidence and then taking down the nets, the police escorted the poachers to the local police station for questioning. I don’t know what the outcome will be but being in possession of a bird of prey, a state protected species, is a serious offence.
And so, after several days of battling these poachers, it was gratifying to finally catch them. I cannot praise the Shunyi State Forestry Police high enough. They responded quickly, with enthusiasm, and effectively apprehended the poachers. I am sure these guys will refrain from trapping wild birds for the foreseeable future.. and I hope their arrest will act as a deterrent for others, too.