Trading of Desi Meethu – illegal

 I could spot the green parrot from anywhere, they used to be my favourite birds when I was a kid and I always wanted one for myself. The green parrot A.K.A. Rose Ringed Parakeet, can be found in numerous Indian homes as their priced pets. These parrots are incredibly intellectual birds and if trained can iterate words and phrases easily. Today, I had the opportunity to take one home, needless to say I was thrilled. I started taking pictures of my very own “Meethu” – the name given to almost all the pet parrots in India. While taking pictures I began wondering how the bird would be feeling inside that little cage, not being able to fly or even mate with other birds? The answer that came from within me wasn’t good, I felt terrible instantly and was left heart broken. I wanted to release the bird without wasting a second, but I was told not to do so because she was injured and might not survive in the outside world. I obliged.

The whole episode made me curious about the capture and trade of these beautiful birds. I began to quench my thirst of knowledge by the use of technology, in other words ‘Began to Google’. Soon, I had several pages open on my phone and I was reading through articles, blogs, papers, and tweets suggesting that trading or keeping any bird in captivity was banned in 1990-91 under the THE INDIAN WILDLIFE (PROTECTION) ACT, 1972 amended in 1991. This information was new to me and to the people who were watching me shout this out aloud. Rose-Ringed Parakeets have been kept in captivity since the early 200 BC, when the royals considered having a pet parakeet as a status symbol.

According to the Wikipedia, these are one of the few parrot species that have successfully adapted to living in disturbed habitats, it has withstood the onslaught of urbanisation and deforestation. Such smart birds are now in danger as per the articles I read on some website due to their population’s rapid decline, the result of illegal pet trade in India. Not only this, the birds are also notoriously unfavourable to farmers as they cause significant damage to the crops and hence they are not allowed to build a habitat near the farm lands by the locals. However, my own little internet search provided contradicting information. The website birdlife.org shows that the bird population is consistently increasing and they are considered “least concern” by IUCN Red List published in 2012. I am fairly certain that these birds are going to survive till the end of the world and possibly beyond thanks to their ability to adapt.

This lead me to another question, what should we do with the bird I met today? I was promised it will be released as soon as it is able to fly. The parrot was never captured, she flew into their house and sat down, unable to fly anymore. The family took the bird in, put her in a cage to keep her safe and is now nurturing her till she is able to fly out again. The only step illegal here is to keep her in a cage, but it’s for her own good. You don’t find many zoos who would take a sick bird in when the species is available freely in the natural habitat, atleast not in our country. I wished ‘Meethu’ good bye and fed her some nuts, fruits and flower buds before leaving.

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