Kottayam: Thirty two hapless birds from the tricoloured munia species were rescued by the forest department personnel from different parts of Kottayam. The birds were found to be painted with dangerous chemical paints all over their body including their beaks. The rescued birds were released into the open by the forest department. 

The birds, belonging to the Lonchura Malacca species, were painted in every possible colour over its original three colors of black, white and red. The birds are apparently captured along the Tamil Nadu border area near to Palakkad in large numbers and sold after smearing colour all over them, even on the beaks and legs. The birds, which find buyers due to their attractive colours, do not survive for long since they ingest the chemicals in the paints.

The birds are apparently captured by smearing glue all over the branches where they regularly perch. Once they get stuck to the branches the smugglers capture them and paint them, going to the extend of using aluminum paints on the bird's beaks. 

The Forest Department was on a lookout for the culprits after such atrocities came to the notice. They had narrowly missed out on the smugglers at Kuruvilangad recently. On Sunday morning, K Binu, member of the State Forest and Wildlife Board informed the DFO, M S Jayaraman about the sale of such birds at Gandhi Square, CMS College and Chandakavala at Kottayam.

The team comprising M B Jayan, Cibi M James, Joseph and Mohanan rushed to the spot but couldn’t capture the culprits. Nevertheless they rescued the captured birds and released them into freedom. 

According to the 1972 legislation for the protection of forest and wildlife, all birds other than crows are included in schedule IV which means that capturing, selling or transporting these birds can attract a non bailable jail term of upto 4 months, said Kottayam Nature Society President B Sreekumar.