Various kinds of birds kept in cages for sale at Murgi Chowk in Old City on Tuesday.
Hyderabad: Hidden away from the main streets, a bustling market in Old City exhibits exotic birds, some of them belonging to endangered species. These birds are openly sold to hundreds of customers. Bird lovers ready to shell out huge sums can even buy endangered Hill Mynas and different kinds of Peacocks.
The market, famously known as Murgi Chowk, one of the oldest bird markets in the country, has illegal agents lurking in corners to sell various kinds of endangered birds to potential customers. Several of the birds they sell are listed in the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, sources say.
A senior wildlife officer had recently met the Commissioner of Police, Hyderabad, seeking assistance for raiding a shop at Murgi Chowk. The police was also given hints about private individuals possessing wild animals and birds illegally in the city. The cops had offe-red to help the wildlife department, but the raid did not take place till now.
Sources from Murgi Chowk say that parrots, peacocks, owls, kestrels, crows and pigeons, are easily available in the market. “Even if a customer wants wild hares and snakes, they can also be arranged easily. I know a trader who sold Peafowl to one of his customers for a big sum recently,” a source said.
Most of the customers come to buy birds out of superstitious beliefs that the birds bring them good luck and act as charms to ward off evil.
“We were also told that buyers use birds, especially birds and crows, for black magic,” said an official from South Zone police.
Other customers buy the birds to keep them in their homes in cages as attractions. Wildlife officials say that they had rescued several birds three years ago after finding many endangered species in the market. They said they would conduct another operation soon and action will be taken if there are birds found that are listed in the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
Responding to the issue, South Zone DCP V. Sathyanarayana said, “The wildlife officials, who can recognise these endangered birds, should be with us for an effective raid. We are already keeping a watch on these traders and there will be a crackdown,” he said.
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