The Indian cheetah and pink-headed duck are gone forever. At least 10 billion dollars worth of resources are exploited from India's natural wealth each year.The international wildlife trade has resulted in around 622 species being pushed towards extinction globally.Between 60 to 80 per cent of all live animals smuggled around the world die in transit. Till the ban on exports in 1990, India used to regularly send out large numbers of birds, the majority of which were parakeets and munias for the pet trade. Around 500 Indian bird species are captured for trade as pets, for food, medicine, sport, ornamental and even religious purposes. The illegal trade in birds extends to Hill Mynahs and parakeets, owls, munias and even crows and vultures.
Globally, where approximately 3.5 to 5 million birds are traded annually, the mortality rate is appallingly high - two for every three birds caught; one dies during capture, one during transportation and only one ends up in the cage. Apart from live birds, a flourishing trade exists in feathers. Ironically, our national bird is the most coveted, its iridescent plumes being used in a dozen crafts. A Trade Restrictions on Flora and Fauna in Commerce (TRAFFIC-India) survey for northern India shows that thousands of birds are still regularly being caught, transported and traded both in India and abroad. In India, Uttar Pradesh is the centre of this nefarious trade.