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Pakistan’s heroic ‘birdman’ | Sindh’s policeman who freed 20,000 birds from captivity

Over the course of his 36-year career, Sindh Wildlife Department Inspector Aijaz Ali Moodani has rescued millions of birds from poachers and trappers. PHOTO: EXPRESS

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you, and who can know it better than a bird in the cage? Someone once said that if birds were only meant to be caged and please our eyes, God wouldn’t have blessed them with wings – Pakistan’s ‘birdman’ believes the same.

“He has become our hero of the month. This month alone, he freed 4,933 birds” – says  Sindh Wildlife Conservator Javed Mahar about  Sindh Wildlife Department Inspector Aijaz Ali Noondhani.

Serving in Hyderabad currently, the birdman Noondhani joined Wildlife Department back in 1983. In his nearly four decades of service, he rescued 0.5 million birds from the poachers and exposed a number of organised gangs involved in illegal trade, particularly operating in Hyderabad, Jamshoro, Dadu and Badin. Not only has he successfully saved the beautiful birds, but he also managed to lay financial penalties on poachers, as much as 4 million rupees.

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Noondhani says that it is not just about his job, but he feels satisfied seeing the birds fly, and believes he will be repaid in the life hereafter. The birds he has freed include sparrows, mynas, bee-eaters, red-wattled lapwings, Yellow-browed warblers, wagtails, parrots and woodpeckers.

”I always feel lighter when I see trapped birds fly away from their cages. I free them not because it’s my job but because I believe it will reward me in the hereafter” – he said, speaking to Express Tribune.

He said speaking about busting these gangs, he has set records and is proud of it. He has registered cases against trappers, poachers and smugglers.

“A while back, I was tipped off about a container loaded with various bird species. I intercepted it near Sehwan and freed 14,000 birds in one go.  An FIR was lodged against those involved under the Sindh Wildlife Protection Act 1972.” – the birdman added.

Despite his exemplary service, certain to inspire, he didn’t get the recognition that he deserved. In 36 years, he has only been promoted once and only received minor rewards.

~ The story originally published in Tribune.

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