Forest officials suspect poachers are rearing Alexandria Parakeets in secret hideouts on the AP-Odisha border.
Even as newborn parakeets after their rescue from gangsters near Palakonda by Srikakulam police were shifted to Indira Gandhi Zoological Park on February 2 are growing well with most of them able to feed and fly on their own, forest officials admit that catching of over 200 day-old birds from their nests in the forest was not possible to anyone.
“Hence it must be the handiwork of some groups who must be rearing the endangered birds to exploit their demand for keeping as caged creatures in various countries,” a senior forest officer said.
However, some local tribals are also in the habit of catching them from the nests and selling them to fortune-tellers.
“They could be encouraged to abstain from catching them by launching specific livelihood intervention programme,” said another forest official.
Before arrest of two persons and seizure of 214 parakeets in small baskets near Palakonda by the police, there were a few cases in which parakeet chicks were seized. Such seizures give credence to the suspicion that the birds listed in Schedule IV of Wildlife Act are being reared clandestinely by people involved in their smuggling.
A pair of Alexandria Parakeets fetches somewhere Rs.20,000 to Rs.30,000 abroad whereas it is available for a few hundred rupees in the local market.
They are highly sensitive and known for developing talking ability. They are the largest species among all parakeets.
They breed during November-April. Generally two to four eggs are laid and the incubation period is 28 days.
After meticulous care and feeding them protein substances through syringe, the rescued parakeets kept at a quarantined room of the zoo here gained enough strength to feed on their own. Some of them are able to fly. Once the court in Srikakulam which directed their nursing in the zoo gives permission, they will be released into the wild.