To free a mocking bird
The illegal trade in parakeet chicks inflicts severe cruelty. Chicks are removed from nests and transported in tight containers to cities for retail sale in the grey market. Many of these chicks die. Picture shows Alexandrine parakeet chicks seized recently from a bus in Delhi by the PFA and handed over by the court to Fauna Police for rehabilitation. PHOTO: ABHINAV SRIHAN / FAUNA POLICE
Not all that is negative in human relations augurs ill for nature. An unusual episode came to the fore from Nawanshahr, Punjab. An accountant by profession, Manoj Kanda, complained to Union Minister Maneka Gandhi that his “chachi”, Ranjit Kaur, was illegally keeping four Rose-ringed parakeets in cages at their common family house in Shiv Nagar. Kanda attached pictures of parakeets in Kaur's inner rooms. The complaint was forwarded to Nikhil Sanger, a member of the Punjab State Wildlife Advisory Board, and he, DFO (Wildlife) Satnam Singh, and the local councillor raided Kaur's home on April 16.
"Kaur got a tip-off of the raid and my wife, Rajni, saw her free parakeets in the nick of time. I had complained to Gandhi because I am an 'Art of Living' teacher and believe that if any living thing is kept imprisoned in a house, it attracts negative energies. My complaint forced Kaur to free the parakeets and that will translate into positivity for us. I believe Kaur got the parakeets from a local youth who deals in these birds. Earlier, I had paid the same youth `15,000 to procure 75 parakeets, which I freed according to a directive of Rajni's astrologer," revealed Kanda.
The twist lies in the fact that Kanda and Kaur are engaged in litigation for house partition. Kanda denies the property dispute motivated his complaint. But he did remain silent for a substantial period of time when Kaur allegedly maintained parakeets right under his nose. Kaur says, "Kanda has been levelling false allegations against me because of a property dispute. I do admit I kept an injured parakeet for some days but freed it after it got well."
This human babble aside, parakeets would certainly not be complaining of this freebie devolving from embittered relations!EARTH DAZED
PHOTO: INTERNATIONAL ANIMAL RESCUE FOUNDATION INDIA
One cannot help but wonder at the human ability to confound itself. Even as homes switched off lights for an hour on April 22 to mark Earth Day, powerful air-conditioners and like appliances were roaring the second the hands of clock moved past the “hour's homage”. Phew! A more grim augury for earth and its helpless natural denizens is climate change. Earlier this month, on April 6, a 30-minute freakish hailstorm killed 25,000 wild birds in Kustiya, Bangladesh, besides causing havoc to the life and property of marginalised peasants. It threw up the most disturbing images of mass bird mortality (see photo). Two years back, 10,000 birds were killed after a nor’wester swept through Badanpur village in Bangladesh. Little wonder then that mother earth must feel dazed at the attention meted out to her on Earth Day! The fact is birds songs carry a feeble resonance in the comity of nations that decides their fate and pays lip service at nature's widening cemeteries.SHEPHERD'S WEATHERGLASS
PHOTO: ASHWANI BHATIA
Ashwani Bhatia was born in Haryana, worked in Delhi and since 1997 has nestled in Dharamsala's verdant hills. His passion for flora and fauna grew with his love for long rambles and he maintains a steady stream of wild flora pictures and descriptions on online botanical groups. Enthusiasts such as Bhatia have added to the knowledge of scientists, especially with regard to distribution of species. In turn, Bhatia acknowledges that "availability of excellent online resources and books have encouraged me to carry on searching".
A little gem that Bhatia came across was the Blue Pimpernel, also known as the “poor man's or shepherd's weatherglass”, as it has a tendency to close in anticipation of bad weather. It is another matter, though, how different species, other than humans, would ascertain good and bad weather!
Here is Bhatia's quaint story: "I saw these blue flowers in the lower town where I had gone to partake of a local feast. I tried to photograph it on my phone but was unable to do so with the flower being too small for a clear picture. I collected a sample and hoped that it didn't wilt till I reached home. It survived the journey and I clicked photographs propping it up with a discarded cardboard box! I have not yet asked local shepherds if they use this weatherglass but will do so soon." May his tribe grow!