A consignment of over 350 illegally captured Rose-ringed and Plum-headed parakeet chicks was seized by the authorities of Palamau Tiger Reserve in Jharkhand. They were seized while in transit to markets.
The birds are typically captured during the nesting season in February-April and sold at a premium. Tribals capture the chicks from their nests in sal and other tall trees, and traders barter the chicks for as little as a kg of rice. They are then sold for about Rs. 150 each in the markets. Such massive trapping of these birds from wild populations is rampant throughout the country. Munias, hill mynas and owls are other target species.
The Wildlife Protection Act (WLPA) prohibits any person (other than a recognized zoo including a rescue centre) from keeping any wild animal (species listed in Schedule I to IV) in captivity without previous written permission from the Chief Wildlife Warden (CWLW) of the state. Every person who (by any means) obtains possession of such wild or captive animals, shall within 48 hours make a report to the nearest police station or the authorised officer, and hand them over as government property. Rose-ringed Parakeets (Psittacula krameri) and Plum-headed Parakeets (Psittacula cyanocephala) are wild birds and are listed under Schedule IV of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972.
Efforts are on by the staff of Palamu Tiger Reserve to raise and rehabilitate the chicks into the wild.
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Lack of awareness amongst public regarding the protected status of wild birds, poor implementation of laws, high demand and acceptance of parakeets as cage birds has resulted in the continuance of such damaging practices.