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| Last Updated:: 11/10/2016

Telangana bird cries for attention










It could well be a herculean task for those following the superstition that sighting Pala Pitta (Indian Roller or Neelkanth) on Vijaya Dasami wipes out their sins and brings good luck. Spotting of the bird, already categorised under the protected species,has already become a rarity in the region. 



Thanks to the notoriety of the bird catchers, who make a living trapping these birds and showcasing them in cages allowing the people to have a glimpse of it during Dasara festival for a fee. 



This despite the bird being protected by the Schedule IV of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972  under which capturing and displaying of the bird is strictly illegal, attracting a penalty of Rs 25,000 or imprisonment up to three years or both.  



The poaching of these birds begins well ahead of Dasara. The poachers waylay in fields and bushy areas and catch the birds using trapping poles. Later, they clip and glue the wings of birds incapacitating them from flying before shifting them to cages. 



The birds’ starvation begins here and those survive till the festival fetch the poachers a means of livelihood. As a result, the sighting of bird has become a rarity even in countryside; forget about the urban areas due to its diminishing population.      



Following the hue and cry raised by several NGOs that work for the conservation of wildlife, the forest department has increased raids and brought down the illegal trade of the birds in cities significantly. 



However, the poachers who zoom around towns and rural parts have a free run with no proper mechanism to stop the malady. Shafaat Ulla, Secretary, BSAP Hyderabad, an NGO working for the protection of wild birds, told The Hans India: “As of now, there is no authentic information of the population of the Indian Roller that is also the State bird of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Odisha.



Its number has diminished significantly. There is an imminent danger that bird will come under the list of endangered species as poaching is still rampant in rural areas.”



“The dwindling area of habitat that is conducive for the birds’ ecosystem is another major reason,” Warangal DFO K Purushotham said, explaining their endeavour to stop the poaching of the bird.



Stressing the need for people’s support for massive afforestation programme, he said that though they were able to contain the illegal trade of Indian Roller in the region, there needs a conducive atmosphere for the birds to prosper.




The legend is that Lord Rama spotted the Pala Pitta before invading Lanka and vanquished Ravana. The other legend is that Pandavas sighted the bird when they went to collect their arms from the “Jammi chettu” where they concealed them before Agnatha Vasam. Since then, it is said to be auspicious to have a glimpse of the bird on Dasara.







Source: The Hans India