Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Birds Dyed for Sale in India


Ordinary wild black headed munias are dyed fluorescent green, red and yellow to enhance their value. Hill mynahs, in great demand internationally, are frequently substituted by common mynah bathed in lamp black and mustard oil. With a touch of orange on the head, the ordinary rose-ringed parakeet turns into the more expensive Alexandrine parakeet. The unsuspecting buyer often with little knowledge about birds is thrilled to have got a ‘bargain’ price for a rare bird, readily buys the bird. It is a win-win situation for everyone, except of course, the hapless bird. The only silver lining is that in most cases, only vegetable dyes are used. As otherwise, the bird would die even before the sale is made! An estimated 50,000 traders in the various towns and cities of India earn their living doing this.

The practice of dyeing animals is not restricted to just birds. In the 1970s, authorities discovered that the poachers were dying the rare golden langur, grey, for the purpose of smuggling!

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