The Hyderabad’s ‘soothsayers’ seem to be afflicted by a spell of bad luck, with the forest department officials deciding to crack the whip on them for caging birds. In a series of rescue operations conducted across the city, around 220 roseringed parrots were seized from these ‘fortune tellers’ who use these birds to draw customers and supposedly predict their future.

NGOs and some animal lovers participated in the rescue operation which was conducted under the supervision of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau and anti-poaching squad. The raids were mostly conducted near places of worship, parks and picnic spots. Eleven parrots were seized near Chilkur Balaji temple, five near the Tank Bund, two from Kukatpally, a pair from Lingampally and another pair outside a temple at Langar Houz.

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“Caging of birds and hurting them for commercial purpose is a punishable offence under the Wildlife Act 1972 and carries a fine of up to Rs 25,000,” said Mahesh Agarwal, special officer, Andhra Pradesh Wildlife Crime Control Bureau. “We have warned these fortune tellers and counselled them against carrying on with this activity. If caught again, they would be fined heavily,” he added.

Sources said that in many cases, the birds were chained to their cages, causing damage to their feet, and their feathers were strategically plucked out to prevent them from escaping. Almost all the birds seized had serious injuries and were sent to the veterinary department of the Nehru Zoological park in Hyderabad for treatment. According to the officials, it would take at least a couple of months for these birds to recover and fly since their feathers and limbs were injured by the fortune tellers. The birds were also not being treated properly. #KhabarLive