By Saisri Sethi
Gathering of bargainers around the caged parrot nestlings is a quite common sight while moving through the Cuttack Bhubaneswar high way. The futile fluttering behind the cage raises the curiosity of the passerby to come closer to know whether they are living parrots or of soft toys. Sometimes the ruthless bird vender shakes the small cages in a violent way to attract the notice of the passerby and the caged nestlings flutter in panic. The noisy unusual hustle and bustle, crepitating sounds of heavy vehicles, high sounding horns and the scintillating sun creates morbid situation for these poor birds. The birds are sold at the rate of 400 rupees each.
Though some passerby become commiserates towards these poor creatures, but they could not stop these illegal activities as they do not get any support from the mobile patrolling police van. Highway patrolling police van frequently moves on those roads but hardly takes any step to curb the violation of the wild life laws. Showing a blind eye to such illicit trading of wild life in broad day light has arose discontent among animal lovers as well as put a question mark on the efficiency and attitude of the city police officers. “Parrot nestlings are captured from the jungles of Nayagada, Koraput, Kalahandi and Paralakhemundi and smuggled to different parts of Odisha and outside as per the demand of the customers. Customers purchase those rare varieties of parrots lest they would speak like human beings,” says Saswat Ranjan Das, a resident of Cuttack who works as Inspector of Cooperative Societies, of Koraput circle. Often the parrot nestlings die within few days as they get separated from their habit and habitat as well as due to the lack of proper care of the owners. And those parrots who even survive lead a miserable life till death.
Their wigs are clipped and kept in a very congested cage. “Parrots play a vital role in pollination. It helps to regenerate the green canopy of forest as it scatters the seeds of fruits that it eats. Now the illicit wild life transactions by the poachers has substantially reduced the number of parrots that has led to the extinction of certain variety of trees, the fruits of which are eaten by parrots only,” says K. L. Purohit, administrative official of Nandan Kanan zoological park. The poachers are taking the advantage of poor cooperation between forest department and the police department. Simultaneously there is a need of massive awareness among the rank and file, as parrots come under schedule four of Wild Life Protection Act- 1972 he added.
“Parrots lay their eggs on their nest on the top of the jungle trees. For earning livelihood poor tribal people are encouraged to steal the parrot hatchlings and sell to bird vendors. During this process many of those fledglings die while separated from their mother, without food,” says a vender keeping his name anonymous. “We get a good price from bird lovers that help us to run our business,” he added. They do not have to hoodwink the police officials, it is an open secret to all the police officials as they all know the fact but do not interfere in these matters lest they have to take some more burden for this, says Laxmi Narayan Purohit, an advocate and a wild life activist of Cuttack.
“Illegal selling of animals that are at the verge of extinct has been a common sight in twin city, hence stringent actions need to be taken against this illegal cruel practice to save these animals and birds and the forest in a long run”, says Bichitra sethi, senior reporter of Suryaprava, an Odiya daily.