“The Forest Department officials at Puliyakulam received information that a woman in the city was keeping Rose-ringed parakeet (Psittacula krameri), a protected species under Schedule IV of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, as a pet. The woman was in tears when the Forest staff seized the bird that she nurtured for three years. She handed over the bird to the forest department after they explained about the illegality of confining parakeets in a cage.” Source- The Hindu
Parrots are magnificent creatures of the wild. They live in large groups and can be found in the flocks of thousands of birds sometimes. Today, we often observe them nesting and living harmoniously within human settlements. It has become a common practice to keep Parrots as house pets. And why not? Owners say that their colourful feathers and melodious chirping bring a different dimension to the environment of the house, making them great pets. The most common birds kept as house pets in India are parrots and munias, renowned due to their vibrant colour, beautiful build, and excellent mimicking talents.
But little do their ‘owners’ know that the native species of flora & fauna in India are protected under the wildlife protection act 1972. We are not just talking about tigers and leopards! Caging Indian birds and clipping their wings is a punishable offence. The Wildlife protection act 1972 has fully protected all native wildlife in India.
What is the need to protect native birds?
In this era of urbanization and industrialization, the native species of flora and fauna are essential in achieving an ecological balance. Thus the Indian Parliament enacted the Wildlife (Protection) Act in 1972 to safeguard and protect the wildlife in the country. It has listed various species in separate schedules according to the threat it faces and mentions detailed provisions to ensure its safety.
What happens if I cage a Parrot?
A captive parrot is a victim of the illegal bird trade. The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 forbids holding Indian birds as pets. There are 12 native species of parrots identified in India, including Alexandrine, Rose-ringed, Plum-headed, Red-breasted, Malabar, Himalayan and Finsch’s Parakeets, and Vernal Hanging-parrot. These birds are listed in Schedule IV of the Act; keeping them as pets can result in up to six years of jail term or a fine of over Rs 5,000. While the Alexandrine Parakeet is protected under the Schedule 1 (B) of the WPA, making it ‘Near Threatened’ in the Red List of the IUCN and ensuring harshest penalties for its captivators.
Where can I release a captive bird?
If you locate a captive bird anywhere, inform authorities from the forest department or call a local rescue organization immediately. The rescued birds are sheltered by the Forest Department and released after four to six months when they gain their new flight wings.
Parrots and other birds are entertaining to witness. But clipping their wings and caging them their entire life is cruelty. In the wild, they play & fly together, & they preen each other and participate in egg-incubation duties. Several species of birds mate for life and share parenting tasks. Bird in confinement may experience malnutrition, an inappropriate environment, isolation, and the stress of captivity.
Birds live to fly. Life in captivity is like a death sentence to them. Isolating them from their natural habitat endangers individual animals and jeopardizes entire populations and ecosystems. Caging them is having a direct impact on our environment!
If you are a bird lover, encourage and make people aware to stop participating in this illegal bird trade. No bird can live happily in captivity. If you own a native parrot, let them fly free. Contact your local wildlife authority and arrange for their rehabilitation. You can always show your love for parrots and other birds by planting trees and nurturing forests. The genuine appreciation for wildlife lies in cherishing their natural habitats and letting them live in the wild freely.