AsianScientist (Feb. 20, 2012) – In order to put an end to the illegal bird trade, TRAFFIC India with support from WWF-India has produced a poster entitled “Parrots of India in Illegal Trade.”
These posters, which help one identify the 12 native parrot species in India, will be distributed to the Police, Customs, Forest Departments, Railway Protection Forces, and educational institutions including schools and colleges.
In India, all native wildlife is fully protected, and there has been a blanket ban on trade in all Indian bird species since 1990-91. Despite this, hundreds of parrots are taken from the wild annually and smuggled to various parts of India and beyond. Of the 12 native species, eight are regularly found being illegally traded.
For centuries, parrots have been kept as pets mainly because they are straightforward to keep and also easy to replace because of the large numbers in trade. This, in turn, has created the demand that has led to an organized illegal trade in parrots.
Parrots are caught using nets and bird-lime. The bulk of the trade is in three- to four-week old chicks between December and June, but adult birds are traded throughout the year. Sadly, for every bird that reaches the marketplace, several are believed to die en route.
“The Alexandrine Parakeet is one of the most sought-after species in the Indian live bird trade and is traded in large volumes throughout the year,” said Abrar Ahmed, ornithologist and a bird trade consultant to TRAFFIC India.
“The chicks are collected from forested areas and transported to bird markets in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Patna, Lucknow, and Kolkata.”
Ahmed said that many specimens are then smuggled via Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh to bird markets in various parts of the world.
Three species of Indian parrots — Nicobar, Long-tailed & Derby’s Parakeets — are considered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as Near Threatened with extinction, he added.
“ We hope (the poster) will inspire children and young people too, because they are the ones who will influence future change and can play a significant role in curtailing the demand for our native wildlife,” said M. K. S. Pasha, coordinator of TRAFFIC India.
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