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Police are looking for illegal hunters using hawks in the hunt

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants Conservation has instructed its officials to lodge a complaint with police in Bang Nam Pliew district of Chachoengsao against five hunters who allegedly hunted wild birds with Harris hawks in the district.

Images of the men hunting birds with their Harris hawks in what was suspected to be a hunting competition went viral in the social media, prompting widespread criticisms against the practice.

The department chief, Mr Tunya Netithammakul, said on Thursday that the hunting was illegal because the birds killed by their Harris hawks were protected species.

As seen in the social media images, there were four Bronze-winged Jacana carcasses, three White-breasted Waterhen carcasses and two Lesser Whistling Duck carcasses.

All three species are protected by the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act,he said, adding that violation of the law is liable to a maximum jailterm of four years and a maximum fine of 40,000 baht.

Harris hawk is a mid-sized hawk found in Chile, Argentina, American and Europe. It is popular among hunters who raise and train it for hunting. The bird is priced at between 60,000-80,000 baht locally.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)