Fortune tellers face the heat - The New Indian Express

Fortune tellers face the heat

Published: 27th September 2012 09:36 AM

Last Updated: 27th September 2012 09:36 AM

Have you seen a parrot in the city anywhere besides the small cage of a fortune teller? Many will have to scratch their heads and think long and hard. Under these circumstances, forest department officials ask, how fair is it to turn a blind eye to caged birds. On Wednesday alone, they rescued eight birds from the clutches of fortune tellers in the twin cities. Last week, the number stood at 12.

Of the rescued birds, nine were parakeets. The illegal sale of birds picks up around festivals every year. V Tirumala Rao, forest range officer, anti-poaching squad, explained, “it is illegal to keep a bird in a cage even at home. Fine can be levied on people who do so. If you are going to keep a bird at home, you should let it fly freely in the house.” He was referring to the wildlife birds not the exotic ones one could buy in specific pet stores in the city.

According to him, most of the birds rescued in the city are parakeets. The fine for possessing them illegally ranges from `2,000 to `20,000. “In most cases, it is the fortune tellers. But fining them is not easy as they flee the moment they see us,” said MA Waheed, Addl. Conservator of Forests. He pointed out that most of them were illiterates and fakes out to fool the public. “People want to know the future, and for that the so-called fortune tellers need something to show them. Hence they use these birds, and make money out of it,” he said.

The fortune tellers buy the birds in rural areas for anything between `100 and `200. In some cases, they are stolen from their nests and injured birds are also taken advantage of. Once the birds are rescued, the healthy ones are let off into the wild, while those injured are kept at the zoo. “Some of the injured birds are also kept in the zoo for display if they need constant care. The healthy ones go back to the forest very soon,” said Waheed. So, the next time you see a fortune teller, you had better alert the forest department!

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