Lahore’s mynas and crows

And now the mynas are under threat. Who shall sing on the mango trees and announce the changing seasons. This story laments the caging of Lahore’s birds for livelihoods..

At least two bird species — common myna and crow — are facing a serious threat as the Punjab Wildlife Department has failed to check the business of capturing these birds from rural and suburban areas and selling them in almost all big cities of the country.

Bird species facing extinction
Saturday, February 02, 2008
By Ali Raza

At least two bird species — common myna and crow — are facing a serious threat as the Punjab Wildlife Department has failed to check the business of capturing these birds from rural and suburban areas and selling them in almost all big cities of the country.

All species of birds play a crucial role in maintenance of the eco-system and environment of any country, and any kind of disturbance in it can be harmful. A number of people could be seen selling common mynas, crows and other birds daily at public places and markets. People buy these sparrows mostly to set them free. The main purpose of this act is to earn goodness, while many set these birds free to present offering after their prayers are answered.

A common sparrow is sold for Rs 10, a myna for Rs 15 and a crow for Rs 25 in the market. The business is flourishing as people believe setting free sparrows will bring them prosperity and save them from evil forces. These birds are mostly sold at Fawwara Chowk, Shadman, Urdu Bazaar, Samanabad, Canal Bank Road etc. Various sparrow-sellers are seen doing their business near shrines and tombs in the city. They roam the areas on foot with small cages, full of sparrows or larks, placed on their heads or fixed on their bicycles.

Caging domestic sparrows, mynas and crows is an illegal activity. The activity is disturbing the ecology and environment of the provincial capital, said an environmentalist, Dr Syed Shahid Ali, while talking to The News. He said these people mostly catch these birds from Shahdara or other suburban areas, keep them in cages for three or four days and later sell them in Shadman or any other areas. Even if they are released there, it is feared these birds will not be able to reach their nests. He said while these birds in are captivity, their baby birds may starve to death and the entire family system will be broken. He said catching sparrows, mynas and crows during their breeding season is very dangerous. He urged the departments concerned to immediately take action against those involved in this illegal business.

Riaz, a sparrow-seller, said he was doing this business for the last two years. He said he started the business after he failed to find any reasonable job. He said every day he fixes trap along the bank of River Ravi to catch sparrows and mynas. “Sometimes, when I fail to catch any sparrow, I purchase them from a Wildlife Department official for Rs 3 each,” he revealed but refused to give the name of the official. The said official has hired many individuals to catch sparrows and mynas, he said. Wildlife Assistant Director Javed told The News that selling of sparrows is illegal. He said the Wildlife Department had already launched a campaign against the sparrow-sellers and, thus far, many had been arrested and presented before the court. The court fined them and released all the birds. He said those bird-sellers were fined Rs 3,000 to 5,000. To a question he denied that any Wildlife Department official was involved in selling of birds. District Officer (Environment) Tariq Zaman said the sparrow-catching business didn’t fall

under the jurisdiction of CDGL. He said strict action would be taken against those involved in the business if the Wildlife Department asked the CDGL to do so.

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2 responses to “Lahore’s mynas and crows

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