Tag Archives: African Open-billed Stork

Bird life gravely undermined by poisoning for bushmeat in Kenya

Bushmeat is more often associated with mammals (majorly modest to large-sized mammals where herbivores like Giraffes and Antelopes, or primates such as monkeys come to mind first) which are an obvious tourist attractions. It is therefore possible that birds are overlooked as a lesser attraction yet many of these are important indicator species of the state of the environment, natural crop pest controllers and probably even have a role in breaking the life cycles of disease agents that would otherwise harm man.

Bunyala Poisoning, June 033

Poisoned Openbills. Openbills are specialist snail feeders.

The much poisoned specialist snail feeder, African Open-billed Stork may have a role in checking Bilharzia by feeding on the water snails of which may include those that harbor the bilharzia vectors. This disease has historical high prevalence in native society set-ups with unfurnished toilet habits and pools of water…which more or less define the status quo in Bunyala. It is worth acknowledging however that Kenya’s birdwatching sector of tourism industry is picking up at the moment with a modest proportion of tourists inclined to birdwatching. Sadly however, the sector may not just live to yield its full potential because important birds’ wetlands inclusive of the unsung Bunyala are losing their bird populations in obscene proportions rendering the sites lacklustre in bird life.

The on-going bird poisoning in Kenya (also known to take place in some irrigation schemes in Uganda) is all aimed at obtaining meat for human consumption-Bushmeat. The technique remains a perfect disguise leaving no trace to follow of how the birds were massacred and an unresolved conundrum on the effects of the poison to the human consumers……but certainly the carcases end up in human beings’ stomachs which follows the illustrated meticulous preparation below. I should humbly warn you esteemed readers to observe viewer discretion for the following images .

A bird (wild duck) is purchased from a poacher

A poison-killed bird (wild duck) is purchased from a poacher

The bird is purchased or picked up as a runaway bird that died away from the poisoning site

Feathers are removed from the bird

Feathers are removed from the bird

Once at home, the bird is prepared-feathers removed- by the mother or child (the case above) at the homestead. The child has no caution of handling the bird whose digestive system may be oozing fluids with the raw poison. Just shows recklessness and there is likelihood that the kid will be subjected to primary intoxication.

Opening up the pre-roasted birrd

Opening up the pre-roasted birrd

The bird is pre-roasted while still with the entrails before opening it up to remove the entrails.

Removing entrails

Removing entrails

The entire digestive system is then removed from the bird. This ideally “removes the parts where the poison is contained”. But what of the poison that circulated in the other body tissues before the bird died?The entrails are disposed off very cautiously lest chicken, cats or dogs feed on them and die instantly! The head (without the beak) and the legs of the bird are however given to the dogs.

Bunyala poisoning May 2011 085

Gizzard showing grit & rice that was laced in Furadan solution & responsible for the ducks death.

Bunyala poisoning May 2011 087

Shockingly, the gizzard which is part of the digestive system but renowned for being tasty is also prepared for cooking and consumption!Bunyala poisoning May 2011 076

The bird is then thoroughly washed, especially the inside body cavity

Bunyala poisoning May 2011 056

The bird is then roasted a second time until all fluids drip dry.

The ready chunk above will be cooked normally and served for a meal.

This indiscriminate killing of birds for meat is a looming threat to the birds’ survival, crippling the avitourism industry and compromising human health. It is a deadly turn of events!

A deep rooted poisoning culture

Our early start today seemed auspicious! not a poacher on sight at the expansive Bunyala Rice irrigation Scheme!0600hrs was the precise time that we set foot at the Eastern edge of the rice plantation. We continued our diplomatic educating and negotiating approach  while at the same time probed to get a feedback on how each poacher feels about this whole risky business of poisoning. Patiently we continue reiterating the possible implications of their reckless actions!

We stumbled on a seeming  peaceful flock of African Openbills and decided to take photo and film clips. My eye then caught a bird flapping one wing while lying on its side. All of a sudden the 50 or so strong took to the air.A frenzied young man had just turned up totally oblivious of our presence and ambushed the birds. In the end he picked up two carcases hastening his trot in the direction that the flock had flown off to, stick in hand. Certainly we were at a bird poisoning scene.

Picture taken on 2011-06-13

Picture taken on 2011-06-13

The two Openbills recovered by the poacher from the flock we were photographing

I sought his attention speaking out my name and requesting to take a look at the carcasses. The dialogue was short and he quickly highlighted that while he had full knowledge of the poison’s toxicity, he prepares the bait using bare hands after which he only rinses his hands with water (without necessarily any soap) ensuring the purple color of the crystals is washed off. He advices anyone to rid the birds of their entrails otherwise declares the meat very fit for human consumption. The reason for disposing of entrails has nothing to do with them containing the poison which in any case if washed one can just go ahead and eat them! He says this is a routine practice for wild bird meat preparation which even his father who was a poacher & introduced him to poaching used to perform though he employed nooses (a way better method in my opinion) in killing the birds. This young man’s dream wish is for Furadan to be made more readily available. He then sought permission to pursue his quarry!

Some distance away we stumble on the oldest poacher (in his 80’s) I know in the locality hunting gear crudely flung over his shoulder (live decoys). We could tell the captive birds’ orientation was tail-end up, heads down! The other hand held the bait bag and yellow container to carry water for washing and dissolving the purple poison – Furadan. He has lived through evolving generations of various animal & bird poaching techniques: catapults, bows & arrows, snares & nooses and now, poisoning.

Bunyala Poisoning, June 055

Picture taken on 2011-06-13 07:36:09

Picture taken on 2011-06-13 07:37:09

Picture taken on 2011-06-13 07:37:09

The feet & bill of the captive Openbill are protruding through the sack. The bill is kept shut by a rubber band tied around it.

This man lost her wife last year to an unknown causes but with knee joint rigidity & pain as predominant symptoms. Whether it was gout (should be in men) or knee paralysis due to carbofuran intoxication remains unknown as there was no autopsy performed. It is however known that the  lions poisoned using carbofuran in Masai Mara exhibited limb paralysis and this cannot be ruled out as a possible cause for this lady’s death. The old man also complains of on and off knee joint pains & rigidity though he says he is not sure if the trend is related to him eating the birds that he poisons. The gizzard is his favorite part of the bird!

At home, this seasoned poacher is relieved of the live decoys by his eldest grandson who takes them to a backyard wetland where they forage under close monitoring by the other youngsters lest they wander off.

Picture taken on 2011-06-13 07:48:06

Picture taken on 2011-06-13 07:48:06

Traumatized decoy: Legs tied togetherby a string to limit its movement

Picture taken on 2011-06-13 07:50:55

Picture taken on 2011-06-13 07:50:55

Carcass of a once captive openbill that lost its struggle with the trauma of captivity left out to rot in the backyard wetland

Already his father (the poachers son but not at home at the moment) has graduated into this lineage of new generation bird-poisoning poachers and there is no doubt the son is an apprentice in the making.

The kids and their mother praise the bird meat which is not a problem for them to access the supply coming from two skilled poachers.

Picture taken on 2011-06-13 07:58:40

Picture taken on 2011-06-13 07:58:40

It is sad to see the protuberant bellies of the children suggestive of  malnourishment but who might further be battling with repeated under-lethal-doses from carbofuran intoxication in the very meat that they readily consume. Their concerns about getting intoxicated are warded off as soon as the birds are dried of their body fluids on slow lighting embers prior to cooking.

This killer ought to be ‘quarantined’ in the least in order to rescue lives and to get these people to engage in more productive activities.

Non-acute intoxication in the African Open-billed Stork

On the average, I estimate the African Open-billed Storks in Bunyala to weigh about 1.5 Kg and standing at 55cm, with neck fully, uprightly stretched.Poachers reveal that the African Open-billed Stork is their favourite poisoning target, especially when dealing with a non-suspecting flock.


African Open-billed Storks.

The situation gets tricky after the birds winess the deaths of their own during the first few baiting sessions and become supicious. This explains why the poachers keep changing the bait-laying sites, to deceive the birds. Nonetheless, going for openly laid out bait is more energy consuming compared to wading the waters, searching and capturing the snails. The suspicious storks therefore still end up eating poison-laced baits and get intoxicated.

This Stork’s specialized feeding habit, hence an ‘open bill’ adaptation seems to be its major undoing factor. While the lower mandible/bill holds on to the outside of the snail’s shell, the upper bill snips the membrane that attaches the soft snail in its shell cavity. The bird therefore feeds majorly on the water snails. Thus, easily laid out bait is almost irresistable to the storks.

decoy hunched.JPG

The suitably adapted ‘open bill’.

Poachers claim that much as these guys are their favourite, furadan poison NEVER kills them. From my observations, It makes sense. Each of the storks needs lots of the snails to get satisfied. A poacher who keeps captive storks for his poisoning estimates about 20 snails a day for each of his captive birds. Bear in mind the captives are traumatized and exhibit low appetites. I believe free storks therefore eat more than that.


Captive Open-billed Storks in their confinement. Remaining snail shells after they have eaten at their feet.

You must be wondering, If furadan NEVER kills the African Open-billed Storks then how come I claim I know it to kill whole flocks?Using a case example of data gathered early tis month a poacher’s bait size constituted about 50 furadan-laced snails, while the target stork population was 53 birds. This means with fair opportunity, 3 birds will not get a bite of the intoxicated snails. At the end of the baiting, 18 storks were retrieved, but all were either clobered or strangled.

My inference is that the bait size was small for equally competing 53 members of the flock, for the poisoned to have attained the lethal dose required to kill any of the storks. In their disoriented state however, they were ambushed to their deaths.


Snail bait (enough for a baiting session) that has not been laced with Furadan.


Disoriented Storks.


A poacher closing in on the disoriented storks, club in hand.

The poachers claim that the poison can only kill the storks if they come to feed on the bait on an empty stomach. If already fed, the storks tend to regurgitate, and this I can bear witness to since I have observed a number get disoriented and in the process of throwing up, regain their composure and take to flight. The poachers say the vomiting is voluntarily induced by the birds from the sickening feeling. They therefore always try to lay the poison bait early to maximize on kill and minimize physical strain of chasing and battering the birds, but somehow the nirds always reach the fields before them. Battering and strangling therefore remains the norm in killing the African Open-billed Storks.

Poisoned Birds to Count

Hi dear readers! I have commenced on the April-May survey down in Bunyala.The rains are here, the locals’ morale is high and…..sadly, bird poisoning is still raging grande at large scale magnitudes. The rains have definatelycome with changes:

Hope to the locals since there is now expectation that the planted corn, from which the staple local food, UGALI, is derived will flourish and avert the long persevered food crisis in the area and country. The country is baically looking green:

rains hence green.JPG

Local biodiversity, represented by birds is teeming with adornment and bounty.

pin-tailed whydah.JPG

Pin-tailed Whydah

Black-winged Bishop.JPG

Black-winged Bishop

Flock of speckled pigeons.JPG

A flock of Speckled Pigeons

The rice growing area is almost all harvested marking the field’s conversion to such a vast poisoning field!

Unlike never before since this survey began in February this year, the area is busy round the clock at day time. In early morning, and late afternoon, the professional poachers prowl the expanse to do their poisoning of birds. When they are satisfied with the catch, ordinary locals lacking in professional bird-poisoning skills comb the fields once the experts have left and pick up the birrds that continue to die or are disoriented from eating furadan-laced baitswhich remain in the field and are deadly up to at least 24 hours after being set.. professional poacher.JPG

Above is one of the local bird poachers.

Kids picking dead birds.JPG

Kids disturbing a flock of pigeons in the hope that a disoriented subject will remain behind.

collected pigeon.JPG

A bird picked by kids, 24 hours after the bait was laid out! Their efforts hatch afterall.

So I am still counting dead birds from furadan poisoning afterall, even after over a month since FMC proclaimed it withddrawn from Kenya.

Oh!one other thing I spent time doing after setting foot in Bunyala, due to the rains is finding a new route to the poisoning site. It needs one to be physically fit because you have to hop across about 5 feet wide water trenches to get to the study site!

hop across to get to the site!.JPG

Please Keep reading.

Some Beauty in Bunyala

It is not true that Bunyala only boasts of its ugly bird poisoning incidences. I must admit many at times, clips of mother nature’s beauty flash past my gaze. Sadly, quite many of these miss being captured and stored in my camera’s memory for exposition to my dear readers. Kindly excuse me because I am normally engaged in capturing the poisoning incidences while trying to conserve my camera’s battery charge. In fact sometimes I am normally without charge which means I cannot do much photographing and have to wait till my assistant takes the battery to be charged at the nearest shopping center, 2 miles away, after we close for the day.

This does not mean I dont have something out of poisoning for you to see. In any case it is acknowledging the beauty that encourages me to struggle on to try bring some change in this area. The beauty is also some kind of consolation, just before or after witnessing traumatizing bird deaths from poisoning.Check out the photos below:

Early morning.JPG

An early morning photo. Usually we leave camp at 0530hrs and head west, so I took this photo looking back in our camp’s direction which is a little offset to the left side of the photo and therefore not visible. You cannot drive or ride here because the place had been prepared for the expansion of the rice scheme and therefore has some embarkments demarcating the would be rice plots appearing horizontal just above the foot of the photograph. The bushes (euphorbia and some shrubs) just behind the embarkments are unique in the sense that they constitute the microhabitat of the African White-tailed Nightjar, a nocturnal insect-eating bird whose distribution is limited to a few localities in western Kenya and I just stumbled on this loocality when this survey began in February 2009.

Beautiful sunrise.JPG

This is about 0645hrs, just about the time we enter the active rice-growing part of bunyala Rice Scheme. At this particular time it is cultivated and we would normally head further west where rice has already been harvested and where poachers would be busy laying bait at about this time. By the time we get to the baiting area, it will just be in time for the poachers to back off while in-flying birds settle to eat the poisoned baits.


A Kestrel in graceful flight over the grounds where poisoning takes place.

kestrel, soaring.JPG

now soaring checking out for quarry

hovering kestrel.JPG

In strong light. Another kestrel hovering prior to descent for a kill! a locust kill!

Looking up!.JPG

“Who could be in the skies?”. A Kestrel feeling challenged by an overflying Black-chested Snake Eagle.

Mistaken Identity.JPG

The mismatch! An even more intimate pose by the immature African Open-billed Stork and Hadada Ibis written about in we are losing breeding birds.


Bunyala is a magnificent expansive flat plain. The panorama lying behind me in this photo is just a portion of it.

I just had to be biased to put so many photos of birds!

Please keep reading!

We are losing breeding birds

Wild Birds are busy chaps, waking up early not just to catch the worm, but to hunt to catch the worm. The worm is in essence a real worm or grain or fish or frog or snail or termite or ant, just to mention but a few. This food gives the birds the energy to go about their lives which other than the feeding, hence growth, also includes breeding, territorial protection/contests and enemy or predator escape. The birds therefore try to budget where they can on their energy use, using it as sparingly as possible where necessary.

Breeding is one of the processes in birds’ lives that demands a lot of energy. Usually it involves displaying at courting, nest-bulding, mating, egg-laying, incubating the eggs, hatching and taking care of the young or hatchlings till they are able to fend for themselves. Birds wil therefore start breeding only when they are at their best in health of which being well-fleshed is a measure. This is only attained during and after a rainy season. The breeding process wil only be succesful if there is food to nourish the breeders and their young. This again is most probable after rains.

At the close of March, Bunyala had experienced modest heavy showers literally characterizing the nights that I was there during my March-April survey. As I continued with my counting of furadan-poisoned dead birds, I realized progressive increase in numbers of birds that were getting ready to breed. In birds, change of plumage is typical at breeding. The birds’ photos below, some already used in other posts illustrate this well. but let’s just take a closer look:

sandpiper in breeding plumage3.JPG

The Wood Sandpiper above was luckily not poisoned by the time I spotted him (or her). He is most likely heading back to northern Europe in the hope of succesful parenting season. he looks good! The indication that he is ready for breeding is the intense spotting on the back graduating to prominent barring on the flanks. A non-breeding bird would be less mottled and lacking the grading to bars on the flanks. I hope he has not been poisoned as I write!

poisoned egret.JPG

poisoned birds.JPG

The poisoned Cattle Egret above is likewise in its breeding plumage, ready to breed when the rains rescind. Usually the Cattle Egrets are white plumaged and dark-legged when they are not breeding. This casualty has in addition to the white plumage a wash of orange colour on the head and upper back or mantle(the photo with many poisoned birds). Its upper legs have acquired the orange colour and the lower legs, if not already orange but just scoured by the water and the egret knee-high stalks of the cut rice plants, then they are gradually acquiring it as well (photo with egret only).

Ringed Plovers.JPG

These furadan-poisoned Ringed Plovers have the bright colour traits typical at breeding. Check the rich yellow-orange on their legs and bill base. This rich yellow-orange colour is lway duller in non-breeding birds. No doubt they are ready to breed. but they just got killed!

And so I am left sad not so certain of what this means. It is disturbing that the poachers are killing birds that have survived aginst the tough conditions of nature, through the taxing drought and when they are just about to bring forth another generation, they are murdered!

Immature BCSE.JPG

Clearly, food conditions seem to be favouring the birds but the poachers are the ones ruining this good fortune.The eagle above is an immature Black-chested Snake Eagle gradually moulting into adult plumage. Conditions must favour its moulting, more so availability of food because the process is energy demanding. Well, the grasslands of Bunyala especially around the rice scheme are sustained by the irrigation, overflow spillage waters . Snakes must thrive about the irrigation scheme in proximity to the frogs, one of the snakes’ favourite meals. And so the young eagle is moulting into an adult with the high-energy requiring moulting process fueled by the snakes and birds. The moulting is evidenced by shorter central tail feathers. These are new growth feathers with richer colour definition. Progressively, the rest of the outer tail feathers will also drop off and be replaced. Likewise, the flight feathers slightly on the outside from mid wing, on the trailing wing edges look shorter with richer colour definition. These are the innermost of the so called Primary flight feathers. These are very important for a bird’s flight.The moulting will progress outwardly and give the bird a grown look. In time, he should be able to breed. Good luck Eagle!

coupling misfiring.JPG

Many of you might have just brushed aside the birds above as a cosy couple of African Open-billed Storks. Please take a look again at the seemingly shorter bird. The tall, standing bird is no doubt an Open-billed Stork, but theo ther bird is a Hadada Ibis! It is a shock the two hung about each other for so long, foraging together and pacing about together. I could not help thinking this was a case of coupling misfiring! By this I just mean mismatched pairing by mambers of different species. But taking a closer look at the Open-bill, he is quite spotted on the neck with the bill colour not a nice horn colour that would be typical of a full-grown bird. He is therefore a young bird, may be traumatized following the loss of parents most likely to furadan poisoning before he was of age to care for himself. Probably, he is deriving solace from a berieved mother Hadada, left childless, possibly after also losing her young to Furadan poisoning. The Hadada Ibis is shorter and has a bill that is more curved and narrows towards the end. You see this now?

So many of the African Open-billed Storks have been poisoned using Furadan that I am afraid how long the local population will stand. I intend to establish trends of the local population of White-faced Whistling Ducks, otherwise Tree Ducks which at the moment are not directly targeted for poisoning because of their greatly reduced numbers. It is said the ducks local population has been pushed to numbers in single digits in the area by Furadan poisoning. With the reduced numbers, the poachers turned to African Open-billed Storks. It is true, what used to be at least 20 strong flocks as the locals say, during my recent surveys I only see 5 individuals on the average, in a span of more than 10 days!

A couple.JPG

The pair above look cosy and normal in the sense that both are Open-billed Storks. I can only wish them luck this breeding season.

Please keep reading.

Bird Poisoning Profession

In the last 2 months, I have been exposed to the world of bird poisoning using furadan to have realized that the activity is a profession with ranks of expertise, areas of specialization and characterized by greed for success or ambition if it was a legal undertaking which comes out by the defined hunting boundaries during the activity.

The experts train new recruits. The programme is a sort of apprenticeship. A willing or interested chap joins the expert whose knowledge about the birds he poisons is awesome but whose killing methodology of the same birds is horrifying. Below is a drowsy migrant wader, intoxicated from eating furadan-laced termites.

disoriented wader.JPG

The experts are well versed on the feeding and behavioural ecology of the birds of their interest; they know where to find them including the preferred habitat and specific sites in the habitat. I was impressed by one hunter when he told me about where I would find two different species member of the same family; these are the Wood Sandpipers which he told me that they preferred the pools inside of rice plots, whereas the Green Sandpipers preffer foraging aong the water-filled trenches that bring water to the rice plots. This turned out true in most cases. So the student learns in the way of the teacher and will earn independence if he so wishes when his teacher pronounces him as qualified. My deeper understanding of this is that over the years, the birds that have been lost to poisoning are way too many, especially with the inception of more poachers into bird poisoning.

The apprentices are taught generally on the various methods of poiosning birds. During poisoning, seasonal specialization where particular methods are used to kill birds observed to be abundant or in season are employed. Some poachers however are biased to particular modes of poiosning throughout. I realized that these modes of poisoning come with equipment or requirements. Other than the captive storks to aid in baiting especially other storks, there are containers or buckets for carrying and lacing the baits with Furadan. Below are two poachers riding off from their poisoning venture.You will realize a hoe attached at the back of the leading bicycle in the photo below.

storks in sack 2.JPG

This is used to dig out various insects that the poachers lace with furadan and lay the baits out to respective birds to intoxicate them.

dug out anthills and insect mounds.JPG

close up of dug out termite hill.JPG

(Dug out distributor trench embarkment that was also a termite mound; once the termites are exposed, they are picke up, laced in furadan and ready to kill the birds)

Then there is the bicycle! Seems a universal piece of equipment. Not only is it a means of carrying away the quary but a means of reaching to far-located poisoning sites. In actual sense, a number of the poachers come from quite a distance to this poisoning site that is Bunyala Rice Scheme.

sunset 1.JPG

(A harvested section of Bunyala Rice Scheme . In these plots, poisoning is currently taking place)

paddy field-Bunyala.JPG

(This portion of the rice scheme has not been harvested. Once harvested, it will also become a poiosning field)

Storks in a field with rice.JPG

(Meanwhile storks and other birds enjoy in the fields that still have rice crop).

At the poisoning sites, my team has difficulty when sometimes we have to get data from the several poachers that swarm the fields. This has been observed on days when it drizzles a little the night before. But on many of such occassions, we end up having minimal mortality, thanks to what I have refered to as greed for success in the first paragraph. Usually, the poachers establish strategic poisoning spots in the rice plots where they set their decoy storks and poison baits. They then must startle a flock of storks settled close by which will see the decoys set by the poachers and fly to them. Since on such occassions there are many decoys set at various locations of the poisoning site, the startled storks tend to get confused and are restless, moving from one set baiting spot with decoys to another. Further, the noise from squabling poachers over right to startle the storks to fly towards their baiting set up confuses the birds further. The end result is every other poacher running about and shouting in the field trying to get the storks to fly to their furadan-laced snail baits. Usually the flock of storks fly away during which the grumbling infuriated poachers now turn to baiting smaller birds using the insect baits laced in furadan.

flocking birds at flooded paddy field.JPG

(A portion of the flock of the contested for African Open-billed Stork)

It is only a matter of time however and the stocks will be back. With many poachers gone, the patient one has the whole flock to himself, and with the storks hungry, they eat and many succumb to the poisonous pesticide.

And so bird poisoning is just another profession, but an illicit and barbaric one where good knowledge about birds is used by the poachers to destroy them.

The misery of captive birds

Dear readers. Thank you so much for your many ways contributions and for continuing to read the stopwildlifepoisoning blog. The sadness of a number of my posts on the blog depicts the reality on the ground. I am working very closely with a number of poachers which has enabled me witness and report what is otherwise kept from the conservation and legal eyes, yet if anything, is a clear massacre to biodiversity. But there is no doubt this situation can almost wholy be blamed on Furadan. Thanks to the heavens that Furadan is in the process of being taken off the Kenyan shelves by its manufacturer, FMC.

In my post, the Call of Death I explained the motif for which captive African Open-billed Storks are kept. Well, I now have an even closer interaction with the live decoy captives and I witness them bear in their suffering without complaint. All this pain,just so that the poison baits below can capture as many Storks as possible.


(snail baits to poison storks; purple furadan is evident in the shell cavities)

Take a close look at the photo below:


The outright odd thing to an ornithologist is that the handling of the birds is just wrong! Holding any creature dangling by the end of its limbs and swaying it to the tune of your movement is surely not so comfortable to the creatures. Taking another look at one of the Storks (below), he was trying to stretch out when I photographed him.Look at the ravaged wing ends, and I bet the stretching out is in an attempt to ease the discomfort after having been carried crudely as seen in the above photo.


Look at the bill of this other Open-billed Stork below.Pay attention to the gap in his bill; an adaptation for slicing off the fleshy mollusk (snail) from its shell.


Now take a look again at the first photo where the two captive storks are held dangling by the poacher. Just about their bill ends there is a swelling forming a ring around the bills which is not part of the natural bill. These are actually improvised rubber rings strapped on at baiting time to prevent the birds from eating the poisonous snail baits. The cruel bit about this is that the rings are so tight to the point that the gap in the bills is forced closed. Bear in mind, the bill is not flexible but the rubber rings put pressure until the concave edges become straight!The rings will only be removed at least after 1 hour when baiting is succesful, or else, unsuccesful baiting prolongs the duration that the rings remain on the bills since the poachers will keep relocating their baiting sites till they have a modest catch by their standards.

Finally, still on the dangling storks held by the poacher, there is a stick showing to the left. This stick is used in battering disoriented storks after feeding on furadan-laced snail baits. Just swinging the wooden rod in proximity of the captive storks terrifies them, but the poachers are too barbaric to sense this. So I watch on as another day wears on and many birds are killed by Furadan and the captive storks struggle on with their trauma.

The poachers say the captive storks survive between 3 days and 4 weeks in captivity on the average. Once trauma weakens them, they are then ready to be eaten (by the poachers) and the poachers replace them with other captives.