This is just the latest news on the illegal wildlife trade in India. The list of threatened birds, due to exploitation and neglect, is increasing every year in India and Bengal is a hub of soaring trade in wild birds.
Wildlife authorities in West Bengal, India raided an illegal pet market in central Kolkata (the capital) where protected animals are sold and rescued around 550 protected Indian birds including parakeets, Asian koels and hill mynas. This is one of the oldest pet markets in Kolkata but also in India. West Bengal is an Indian state, located in the eastern region of the country on the Bay of Bengal.
Hundreds were shoved into tiny metal crates. These raids were conducted by Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) of the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change, and the West Bengal forest department. They are prepared for these raids and 250 parakeets were rescued.
— CITES (@CITES) April 8, 2019
They contacted veterinary experts to help with the birds rescued as many of the chicks didn't survive.
Very few humans care enough to acknowledge and appreciate birds' feelings and remarkable intelligence, these animals suffer terribly. As a chicken keeper, I've witnessed their intelligence first hand. Some say chickens are as smart as little kids and can recognize words as well as faces. We know that African grey parrots have a huge vocabulary.
"If more people appreciated how rich and complex birds' lives are in the wild, humans' exploitation of birds, which is fuelled by the illegal "pet" trade, would be curtailed."
For context, West Bengal has emerged as a major market for wildlife smugglers dealing in live animals and birds of Indian and foreign origin. According to PETA India, many of the birds who are widely traded are threatened species, such as the swamp francolin, green munia, Finnâs baya and Shaheen falcon.
Here's more about the protected Indian birds rescued in this raid.
India has 12 native species of parakeets, eight of which are heavily in trade. They include Alexandrine, Rose-ringed, Plum-headed, Red-breasted, Malabar, Himalayan and Finsch's Parakeets and Vernal Hanging-parrot. This is the Alexandrine Parakeet.
The Asian koel is a member of the cuckoo order of birds, the Cuculiformes. It is a brood parasite that lays its eggs in the nests of crows and other hosts, who raise its young. These birds were once very popular in India as cagebirds.
The hill mynas are placed under the Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, the highest protection accorded to species in the country.
Fun Fact? Hill mynas are known for their mimicking abilities. In the 'backstreet' markets, their price varied from rupees 15000 to 50000 for a pair depending on their ability to mimic.
If you're interested in other endangered species in India we've created this short list:
There are 16 endangered bird species in India, including Lesser Florican Sypheotides indicus, Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus, Narcondam Hornbill Rhyticeros narcondami and Masked Finfoot Heliopais personata.
"Apart from listing many bird species in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, and all other bird species in Schedule IV (a list of protected species), and banning bird trade in 1992, not much has been done in India to protect the avian wealth."
Are parakeets the bird for you? Please let us know if you share your home with one in the comments below!