Despite ban, indigenous birds being caged, sold illegally in city

Despite ban, indigenous birds being caged, sold illegally in city

Birds kept in cages for illegal sale in Jalandhar. Sarabjit Singh

Tribune News Service

Avneet Kaur

Jalandhar, May 21

Though the Wildlife Protection Act,1972, bans the trade and trapping of all indigenous birds across the country, the practice is prevalent in certain places in the city where the birds are not only kept in cages but are also being sold for as low as Rs 500.

The birds’ activists in the city say the primary reason behind the illegal sale of these species is the lack of awareness among residents. They say though birds are being sold openly, neither the administration is taking any action against such roadside vendors nor residents are reporting about the practice and instead they are happily buying them for their homes.

Talking to Jalandhar Tribune, Sandeep Chahal, president, Dastak Welfare Council, an NGO, who has been working in the field of conservation of different birds for the past 14 years, said the sale of foreign birds such as cockatoos and love birds was common in the city as these could be easily found being sold in pet shops or on roadsides near Ali Mohalla.

Divulging more details about keeping birds in illegal captivity under inhuman circumstances, Chahal said many residents in the city prefer buying coracias benghalensis (Neelkanth) before 30-40 days of Dasehra. He said there was a myth surrounding Neelkanth from the Mughal era that one who keeps this bird in a cage for a month or two that too without food or water, and releases it in his agriculture field, would be blessed with bountiful harvest as the bird was a natural pest eater.

He said people during those days buy the bird for Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,000.

“My NGO has been organising awareness seminars and workshops on a regular basis to break this myth and sensitise people to conservation of birds and their freedom but those looking to make a quick buck fail to understand this and continue selling such birds despite ban,” he said, adding that many residents in the city are keeping birds, especially parrots as pets.

“Awareness programmes and announcements on the ban should not be just on papers rather it should be broad-based among the people and continuous checks must be done to stop the practice,” said Chahal.

Stressing on the need of ‘Building a shared future for all life’ which is also the theme of International Biodiversity Day this year, the birds’ activists laid stress on the order of the Delhi High Court which recognised that birds have the fundamental right to fly and caging them should not be permitted. They said the order of the High Court must be followed by all the state governments in true spirit and illegal selling and caging of birds and other animals must be stopped.

Tribune Shorts


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