TN Forest Department rescues illegally held parakeets following PETA India complaint

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In a crackdown on fortune tellers, the Chengalpattu Forest Department officials has seized seven parakeets in the Thiruporur forest range in a special raid this week.

The forest department was acting on a complaint by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India.

The seven fortune-tellers were illegally keeping the birds in tiny cages. The officials registered a preliminary offence report under Sections 9, 39, and 51 of the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA), 1972, and apprehended the fortune-tellers. Parakeets are protected under the WPA, and capturing and keeping them is a punishable offence.

Comedian Sunil Grover had posted a reel (https://www.instagram.com/p/CfOqvTEg4yD/) of a fortune-teller and parakeet on Instagram, and PETA India swung into action, working alongside the forest department to rescue the birds and apprehend the fortune-tellers.

PETA India awarded the department with a Hero to Animals Award in April to thank it for rescuing four parrots that were being illegally sold online for astrology scams – and for aiding in the arrest of two men who were allegedly involved.

“PETA India commends the Chengalpattu Forest Department for saving these beautiful parakeets, who should never have been caught and who deserve to fly free again. Buying, selling, or caging parakeets is illegal and can result in a jail term of up to three years or a fine of up to Rs 25,000 or both,” said Meet Ashar, PETA India’s manager of cruelty response projects.

“Caged birds have nothing to sing about. Birds belong in the sky, never in cages, and we urge anyone who is keeping a bird in this way to turn them into a local forest department or an animal protection group for rehabilitation and to be reunited with a flock.”

In the illegal bird trade, countless birds are torn away from their families and denied everything that is natural and important to them so that they can be sold as “petsa or bogus “fortune-tellers”.

Fledglings are often snatched from their nests, while other birds panic as they’re caught in traps or nets that can seriously injure or kill them as they struggle to break free.

Captured birds are packed into small boxes, and an estimated 60 per cent of them die in transit from broken wings and legs, thirst, or sheer panic. Those who survive face a bleak, lonely life in captivity, suffering from malnutrition, loneliness, depression, and stress, PETA India noted.

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