New Delhi, India, 15thFebruary 2012.

A parrot in captivity is one of the more visible symbols of illegal trade in India, where all native wildlife is fully protected. To help enforcement officers identify native parrot species, and thereby clip the wings of the illegal bird trade, TRAFFIC India with support from WWF-India has produced a identification poster entitled Parrots of India in Illegal Trade.

Identification of parrots and other species in trade is a major challenge, but the new poster will help enforcement officers identify the 12 native Indian parrot species.
The posters will be distributed to Police, Customs, Forest Departments, Railway Protection Forces, educational institutions such as schools and colleges.

Despite the blanket ban since 1990-91 on trade in all India bird species, hundreds of parrots are collected and traded annually in India.

They are taken from the wild and smuggled to various parts of the country and beyond. The bulk of the trade is in three to four week old chicks.

Parrots are caught using nets and bird-lime. Adult parrots are traded throughout the year, with chicks arriving in trade between December and June. For every bird that reaches the market place, several are believed to die en route.

Of the 12 native species, eight are regularly found being illegally trade. They include Alexandrine, Rose-ringed, Plum-headed, Red-breasted, Malabar, Himalayan and Finsch’s Parakeets and Vernal Hanging-parrot.

For centuries, parrots have been kept as pets mainly because they are straightforward to keep and easy to replace because of the large numbers in trade. This has in turn created demand that has led to an organized illegal trade in parrots.

Abrar Ahmed, ornithologist and a bird trade consultant to TRAFFIC India said, “The Alexandrine Parakeet is one of the most sought after species in the Indian live bird trade and is traded in large volumes throughout the year.

“The chicks are collected from forested areas and transported to bird markets in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Patna, Lucknow and Kolkata.

“Many specimens are smuggled by Indian dealers via Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh to bird markets in various parts of the world”.

“Alarmingly, three species of Indian parrots—Nicobar, Long-tailed & Derby’s Parakeets—are considered by IUCN as Near Threatened with extinction, with illegal trade posing a significant threat.”

MKS Pasha, Co-ordinator of TRAFFIC India said: “Few know that our favourite and well-known mithu is a protected species in India. Their chicks are captured remorselessly from the wild, and many to not make it to the final destination.”

“The parrot trade is substantial and well organized, but it can be counteracted through concerted enforcement actions at the grassroot level and mass awareness campaigns.

“TRAFFIC India’s new poster is a step in this direction. We hope it will also inspire children and young people too, because they are the ones who will influence future change and can play a significant role in curtailing the demand for our native wildlife.”

For more information, please visit: and


  1. TRAFFIC the wildlife trade monitoring network, is a joint programme of WWF, the global conservation organization and IUCN, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. TRAFFIC currently works on wildlife trade issues in over 25 countries and territories, with ongoing research and activities in several others. In India, TRAFFIC functions as a division of WWF-India. TRAFFIC India works to ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature in India. For more information please visit or


  1. WWF-India is one of India’s leading conservation organizations with programmes and projects spread across the country. The
    organisation works towards the conservation of biodiversity, natural habitats and the reduction of humanity’s ecological footprint. The mission of WWF-India is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. For more information, please visit


  1. Illegal wildlife trade is widespread globally  and is possibly third in value behind the illegal narcotics and arms  trades. The most commonly known products in illegal wildlife trade in India are: Mongoose hair, snakeskin, Rhino horn, Tiger and Leopard claws, bones, skins, whiskers, Elephant tusks, deer antlers, turtle shells, musk  pods, bear bile, medicinal plants, timber and caged birds such as  parakeets, mynas and munias.


~ Thanks to our contact in India, Shubhobroto Ghosh.
Programme Officer TRAFFIC India.
WWF India Secretariat.

TRAFFIC- the wildlife trade monitoring network- is a joint programme of WWF and IUCN- International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. It works to ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to conservation of nature.