Islamabad -  As one can see and purchase different kinds of birds from different markets and even on roads, the agricultural scientists have warned that the illegal poaching of some certain species of birds was spoiling the echo system.

The poaching and sale of different birds, even rare and endangered species, is on the rise as the seller can be seen on the roads but the concerned wildlife department has turned a blind eye towards checking the practice and apprehending those responsible. Some sellers even display eagles on their elbows while the women sellers of black partridges, from far-flung Punjab and Sindh area, can be seen on Lehtrar Road selling the endangered species offering from Rs 3,000 to Rs 7,000.

A lady trader of this species Ruksana Bibi, who had a black partridge to sell on Barma Bridge, said she was in the business for over twenty years and have to travel a lot for the purpose. When asked is not it illegal business, she replied nobody ever questioned her about it and it was her entire family `s livelihood over the years.   

She said, “We can provide the birds like falcons and ostrich even if being ordered in advance.”

A wheat crop scientist Dr Riaz at National Agriculture and Research Centre (NARC) said capturing birds was really harming the crops especially wheat, as some certain birds are imperative to remove insects harmful for crops. “This was also disturbing the natural echo system and practice must be curtailed,” he added.  The black partridge, he said, was very useful for crops and trees as it eats termite that spoil trees. These birds cannot survive at homes in a confined environment. He urged the concerned to stop this illegal act of poaching birds to protect echo system

Ruksana said mostly birds are brought from different area of the country. While black partridge is fetched from near Dera Ismail khan, some birds also arrive from Lahore, Sukkur, Peshawar and Quetta and Karachi.

A buyer Usman Ahmed said: “These birds are blessing for us as I have kept Macaws, falcons and lovebirds which is my hobby”. there was a dire need to establish a proper market for the birds like in foreign countries.

A bird seller at Aabpara Market defending the business said, “This is my bread and butter.” The practice of keeping birds at home arises from the notion that it can save you from diseases and evil eye.

“I always keep this bird in my house as It was thought it protects you from black magic,” Usman said.

Raheem, a vendor standing at a chowk of F-10 sector said capturing birds is his business. “We catch these small birds with much effort. We take some money to free them at the asking of customers.” He said people who belong to upper class come to free these birds as per Rs 100 each. “They free them from captivity, by giving us money,” for their satisfaction.

Director Islamabad Zoo Wildlife Wing, Abdul Rasheed said that illegal sale and purchase of birds is being carried out at a large scale all over the country and his department cannot control this practice with meagre resources. The metropolitan cities especially Islamabad is an attractive destination for these unlawful businessmen as they are paid sufficient amount for their birds.

Rasheed said the wild-life department was doing its job “as our patrolling teams were engaged to apprehend those in suburban areas of the twin cities. He further said if they found any culprits “we free all the birds at the moment.”

The captivity also reduces the expected ages of birds, he said, adding that keeping them in cages also means lesser number of chicks from their eggs. He, however, said the practice is being carried out more in Rawalpindi as compared to Islamabad and the department in a recent raid at F-10 got released dozens of birds brought to sell here from different parts of the country.