On 1 October, acting on a complaint by PETA India, Lucknow police rescued over 800 ring-necked, plum-headed, and Alexandrine parakeets; munias; and silverbills from the Nakhaas bird market in Lucknow. After receiving a tip-off from a concerned individual about the illegal wildlife trade at the market, the group sought the intervention of Shri Chiranjeev Nath Sinha, additional deputy commissioner of police, Lucknow West, to rescue the birds and book the perpetrators. Sinha promptly assembled a team, raided two godowns, and rescued the birds. The rescued birds had been kept in cramped conditions, and eight of them were found dead, apparently due to severe crowding and suffocation. A first information report has been registered by the Kotwali police station against the perpetrators under relevant sections of the Wild Life (Protection) Act (WPA), 1972 (as amended in 2022); the Indian Penal Code, 1860; and The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960. Two of the five accused individuals were arrested, and the police are on the lookout for the three who fled.
The birds are currently in the custody of the Lucknow forest division, and they are expected to be released back into their natural habitat after examination by a veterinarian and upon receiving the court’s permission.
In nature, birds engage in social activities, such as taking sand baths, playing hide-and-seek, dancing, building nests with their mates, and nurturing their young. But when they’re caged, these vibrant individuals become depressed and withdrawn. They often over-preen themselves to the point of mutilation. Some birds are forced to endure wing clipping so that they can’t fly away, yet flying is as natural and important to them as walking is to humans.
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The WPA bans the capture, caging, and trading of indigenous birds, and non-compliance can result in imprisonment, a fine, or both. In addition, caging birds violates the PCA Act, which stipulates that it’s illegal to keep or confine any animal in any cage or other receptacle that doesn’t provide them with a reasonable opportunity for movement – and for an aerial bird, that includes flight.
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