Pakistan News

Green parrots released after being confiscated from traffickers

Green parrots released after being confiscated from traffickers

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad Wildlife Management Board released 18 green parrots into their natural habitat on Sunday after confiscating them from animal traffickers last week.

Wildlife Board Chairman Dr Anisur Rehman said the population of green parrots in Islamabad and the rest of the country is declining because of an increase in illegal trade.

“We know that the greatest danger to our wildlife after loss of habitat is poaching to be sold in markets locally and abroad,” Dr Rehman said.

He added that the latest confiscation of rose ringed parakeets from the weekly markets, and the H-8 and H-9 forests, are being released after a week of rehabilitation at the Islamabad zoo.

The parrots were released early Sunday morning, to allow them to reset their bearings and have a full day to recover from their ordeal in captivity.

‘Population of green parrots in Pakistan declining because of increase in illegal trade’

The parrots were confiscated from traffickers who were caught trapping the birds in wooded areas in the H-8 and H-9 sectors. The trappers were caught by a ninth grade student who informed the concerned authorities.

Mahmood Nasir, the climate change ministry’s inspector general of forests, said green parrots commune in large numbers on a few trees at the end of the day, making them an easy target for trappers.

A green parrot sells for Rs2,000 to Rs3,000 locally, and can be purchased at weekly markets. According to officials, the birds fetch much more when smuggled to Europe.

Wildlife expert Safwan Ahmad explained that Pakistan is home to four out of 376 species of parrot in the world.

“We have reason to fear that one of the four species, the Alexandrine parrot – named after Alexander the Great for it immediately became his favourite exotic species – has recently been eliminated in Pakistan,” Mr Ahmad, the vice chairman of the Wildlife Foundation, said.

Loss of habitat is another major reason for the decline in the parrot population. Mr Ahmed said that parrots do not build nests, and instead live in holes in dead trees.

“However, dead trees are quickly chopped and auctioned for quite a lot of money without realising the consequences to nature. Dead trees not only provide shelter to parrots, but are home to squirrels and the local myna, which breed in the holes in dead trees,” he said.

Mr Nasir, said the National Forest Policy, which encourages revenue generation for the government, requires drastic change.

He said: “The government auctions dead trees for billions of rupees. Recently, the Punjab government generated nearly Rs1.5 billion through such a process,” he said.

Published in Dawn, July 31st, 2017

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