Taking wing: Caged bird trade being regulated

Published: January 2, 2011
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Rules will protect birds that are abused and kept in tiny cages while curbing trade in rare species.

Rules will protect birds that are abused and kept in tiny cages while curbing trade in rare species.

PESHAWAR: The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s Wildlife Department has chalked out a plan to regulate the caged birds business. The department in this regard has served notices on shopkeepers to get themselves registered with the department concerned.

“Notices have been served on the dealers of caged birds in Peshawar in which they have been directed to restrict business to only exotic species and a few indigenous ones,” said Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Peshawar, Faiq Khan.

He said that captivity of protected species like partridges, peacocks, cranes and all types of pheasants is prohibited under the wildlife act. Only the sale of exotic species like parrots, sparrows and local birds like mynahs, quails and pigeons is allowed.

The plan will be replicated in other districts after getting positive results in the provincial metropolis, he said.

In response to our notices, four shopkeepers have shown consent for registration with the department and payment of an annual fee of Rs4,000, Faiq said.

He said there are several shopkeepers dealing in caged birds in different bazaars including Kohati, Board Bazaar, Charsadda Road and Hayatabad. In some cases, people keep birds in tiny cages on their bicycles.

The DFO said that trade of caged birds is flourishing due to the high price of these beautiful birds. As prices of small birds have shown a significant increase, business activity has enhanced. Many affluent families keep birds and pheasants in their lawns to enjoy their presence.

When asked about possible defiance of the notices by shopkeepers, the DFO pointed out that such business centres would be raided and the violators penalised.

The shopkeepers who are not willing to get themselves registered would be taken to courts.

He also said that now around 1,500 cases of wildlife act violations have been submitted in court and proceedings are in progress.

About bird captivity at home, the DFO said it is allowed only through licence. He also said that his department has launched a programme of giving species to wildlife enthusiasts for a short period.

Under the programme applicants are provided with a pair of birds to be kept at home. When the period expires, the original pair is taken back by the department and any chicks hatched during this period remain with the borrower.

The department also sells birds to the public at reasonable prices to help bolster income and pheasant farming in the province.

“Be it business or conservation, we need a balanced approach and a policy where sellers continue their business and the species are also
preserved,” the DFO remarked.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 2nd, 2011.

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