75 parakeets rescued

Seventy-five rose ringed parakeets that were rescued from pet stores, pet bird traders, soothsayers, and residents in the last couple of months were on Tuesday released at Narasampathi Tank, near Veerakeralam, on the outskirts of the city.

It was part of the wildlife week and world animal day celebrations jointly organised by the Forest Department and Animal Rescuers (an animal welfare organisation).

The birds were released by a group of students of CMS matriculation higher secondary school. They had their quarterly chemistry exam that afternoon but volunteered to be part of the event. “We are very happy to release these birds in their natural habitat,” said K. Dharani, a student, said.

“Forty-nine parakeets were rescued from Perur in phases, and the rest were from Tirupur. The primary flight feathers of all the birds were plucked and the beaks of most of the birds were clipped,” said Vinny R. Peter, director of an NGO. Fifteen birds did not have tails, he added.

They were treated and nurtured at the aviary of the forest department near the district forest office. These birds – 32 females, 25 males, and 18 juveniles – were among the nearly 225 rescued parakeets getting treated there, under the care of the NGO. On recovery 75 of them were ready for release on Tuesday.

“Rose ringed parakeets have a life of 60 to 80 years in the wild (natural habitat). But under captivity it is reduced to just 10 years,” Ms. Vinny said.

District Forest Officer (DFO) S. Ramasubramaniam said that students were involved in the event to realise the importance of not keeping birds under captivity. He said that 12 munias, and 11 Alexandrine Parakeets were getting treated at the aviary will be released in to their respective natural habitats – soon after they recover.

The DFO said that the department was planning to take them to Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh and release it there as it is the closest natural habitat of those birds. “We will be coordinating with the forest department in that State to release it there,” he added.

Mr. Ramasubramaniam also said that the department will be conducting surprise raids to rescue parakeets kept under captivity by soothsayers.

He said that having parakeets under captivity was a punishable offence under the Wildlife Protection Act. Residents having these birds and those coming across its sale can inform Forest Department at 2456911 or animal rescuers at 9626011011.