Things are back to square one at Mahboob Chowk bird market. Two days after the Forest Department personnel conducted raids and seized about 500 endangered species of birds put up for sale, business has resumed again in full swing.
A visit to the market proves that not much has changed after the raids except the fact that traders are not displaying the scheduled birds. Apparently, they do not want to lose their collection, but once things settle down the trade in endangered species will resume again, feel animal welfare activists.
During the raids conducted on February 23, the officials rescued endangered species like Parakeet, Munia, Kites, Indian Roller, Starlings, Shikra, Owls, and Owlets. The rescued birds were later shifted to the Nehru Zoological Park.
It was the first time that such a massive raid was conducted at the market by the Forest Department and NGO activists under police protection. The Forest Department officials described it as a major achievement. “We will maintain a constant vigil from now onwards,” said an official.
According to old timers the bird market had been flourishing for the last many decades and has only grown due to the connivance of the local authorities. The number of shops has increased and the market attracts people from the adjoining States as well for its rare collection.
Faith is one of the reasons for the flourishing business at the market. A large number of people head to the market to procure birds and free them. However, it is mostly crows and sparrows that are set free for many believe that the practice wards off evil. A few people also visit the market to procure pigeons and love birds that are reared.
M. Shaffatulla, honorary secretary of the Birdwatchers’ Society of Andhra Pradesh, says if people stop buying the birds, the market will close down over a period of time. He feels that the authorities should conduct periodical raids so as to prevent the bird trade.
Asif Yar Khan
Things have not changed much at the Mahboob Chowk bird market except that traders are not displaying the scheduled species