October 22, 2016
In a first time initiative, Forest Department Officials along with NGOs here are planning to release rescued Alexandrine Parakeets (psittacula eupatria) that were used in exotic pet trade in Coimbatore.
Around 11 birds of the species, rescued from various pet shops from around Coimbatore are all healthy and set to be released only after a suitable natural habitat is found for them as the birds do not belong to Tamil Nadu. They are protected under the Wildlife Protection Act (1972).
The birds which were rescued by the Forest Department with the help of Animal Rescuers, who are currently looking after the birds, are fed with corn, chilly, sunflower seeds and fruit varities.
“When we first rescued them three months ago, their primary flight feathers were cut and beaks were clipped. It would take three to four months for the birds to recover and now the birds are healthy and ready for release,” said Vinny R. Peter, Director of Community Education of Animal Rescuers organisation.
“We will first have to identify a suitable spot to release the birds. If we have to release them outside the State, we should first write to the Chief Wildlife Warden of the State; get permission and then carry out the release process with the help of our staff and volunteers,” said District Forest Officer S. Ramasubramaniam.
He further added that some bird lovers have identified reportedly spotted Alexandrine Parakeets in Top Slip, Pollachi adding that if found to be breeding they could be released there.
However, P. Pramod, Principal Scientist at Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON) claimed that the species of bird do not breed in Tamil Nadu and are have their natural habitats North to Karnataka.
“It is important that they are released in their natural habitats so as to help them adapt to their prey base and surrounding soon.
The organisation had earlier released 75 Rose Ringed Parakeets and is currently with the Forest Department is looking after 150 Rose-Ringed Parakeets, 11 Alexandrine Parakeets, two each of Red Munias and Scaly Breasted Munias, one Silver Bill (White Munia) and 12 Black Headed Munias, which were rescued from Karur.
According to sources, the bird which looks similar to the Rose Ringed Parakeet (psittaculla krameri) which is commonly found in Tamil Nadu and used by fortune tellers, differs from them with the dark band around the neck, a red patch on the wings and a have a larger body.
Being the largest of the Parakeet species in the country found in wooded areas and is largely feed on nuts and fruits in the wild. The birds have also been for long used in pet trade and were exported to many countries resulting in the decline of the numbers in the wild.