Mumbai: Parakeets and tortoises rescued in raid at Crawford Market

After Animal Welfare Board officers confirmed that the wild creatures were being sold illegally, five shops were raided

Animal Welfare Board officers, along with the Mumbai police, conducted a raid at five pet shops at the Crawford Market on Friday, and rescued around 16 parakeets and four star tortoises, kept for sale illegally.

The birds include Alexandrine and Rose-ringed parakeets; in all 16 were rescuedThe birds include Alexandrine and Rose-ringed parakeets; in all 16 were rescued

The MRA police have registered a case against the owners of two of the five shops in which the birds and tortoises were found, and arrested two people for the illegal trade.

One of the rescued four star tortoises
One of the rescued four star tortoises

Meet Ashar, the Animal Welfare officer appointed by the Bombay High Court, visited the pet shops on Friday along with 12 volunteers. “We were aware that animals are kept and sold illegally in the market even after prohibition from the High Court. So we inspected the area by making three teams of four members. We approached them as customers and demanded wild animals that are banned in the market,” said Ashar. After confirmation from the shop owners, Ashar met the Assistant Commissioner of Police and a team of 10 policemen from MRA police station conducted the raid. The shop owners keep the wild animals hidden in their shops in fear of raids from the police or animal activists, who usually visit the shops secretly. “When we approached them as customers, they showed us the animals available with them. They showed us pictures of them on mobile phones and said if we wanted to buy them, they could make them available within five minutes. The police and we conducted the raid and we found parakeets and tortoises,” added Ashar, claiming that the search operation was carried out in five shops, and in two of them they found 12 Alexandrine parakeets, 4 rose-ringed parakeets and 4 star tortoises.

Ashar further added that the parakeets are sold at around Rs 2,000 to 3,000 each and the tortoises are sold at around Rs 2,000 each. The rescued parakeets and tortoises have been kept at the forest office in Teen Haath Naka in Thane.

The MRA Marg police station has registered a case under different sections of the Wildlife Protection Act and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

Vinayak Bilare, Police Sub-Inspector MRA Marg police station, confirmed the raid and said, “We have registered a case against two shop owners, and arrested two people for illegally trading in wild animals. The animal activists had first visited the spot and done a survey, where they confirmed the trade and later informed us. With their help we conducted a search operation in different shops and rescued the birds and tortoises.”

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