Poachers tie the legs of the birds with thread, trim their wings and stick them with glue to prevent them from flying

Why Telangana has banned display of its state bird Palapitta in temples during DasaraImage: By Shiva kumar ganiwada, via Wikimedia Commons
news Thursday, September 17, 2015 - 13:48

The Telangana government has ordered a ban on the display of the state bird Palapitta at temples during Dasara festival, reported The New Indian Express

The Endowment Commissioner has issued a notice to all temples in the state warning of strict consequences to those violating the order. 

The decision comes after Humane Society of India, an animal protection organisation, wrote a letter to authorities in the Telangana government urging them to take necessary actions to strictly monitor the illegal capture and trade of Palapitta.

Palapitta, which is also known as the Indian roller or blue jay, is believed to bring good luck when seen on the eve of Dasara. 

In a recent letter addressed to the Telanagana government, the organisation wrote,

"Poachers and traders take advantage of the common belief that the sighting of Palapittas is a lucky omen during the Hindu festival of Dusshera. Poachers typically capture the birds a month before the festival, tie their legs with thread, trim their wings and stick them with glue to prevent them from flying. The birds are usually starved up till the day of Dusshera and kept in small cages for public viewing. Most of these birds die in captivity or immediately after being released."

"During Dusshera, many devotees pay hefty sums of money to buy these captured birds from local markets and release them as a good deed which they believe will absolve of their sins. These birds are often sold or placed outside temples for viewing during Dusshera."

Palapittas are an ecologically important species as they help control pests in farm land. This species is protected under Schedule IV of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 which makes its capture, hunting and trade an illegal activity punishable with a fine of Rs. 25,000/-or an imprisonment for up to three years or both.