he Hyacinth macaw and the other birds rescued at the airport on Monday will find a new home at Alipore zoo.
The Hyacinth macaw — a pair costs upwards of Rs 40 lakh, a little less than a BMW 3 Series — is the largest macaw species native to South America and is a prized possession of private collectors, a forest official said.
Ashis Kumar Samanta, the director of Alipore zoo, said he could not recall when was the last time a Hyacinth macaw had been put on display at the zoo. “This is an exotic bird and we are planning to allot a large enclosure for it. We will keep some of the other rescued macaws in it.”
The bird, according to zoo officials, is a juvenile. It is in the zoo hospital and will remain there for at least 20 days, a zoo official said. Doctors are keeping a round-the-clock check on its health and keepers are ensuring it gets its favourite fruits (apples and grapes) and nuts. “Since their beaks are quite hard they are fond of walnuts. They can break the tough shells easily,” the zoo official said.
The bird, along with 21 other macaws, had been rescued from the airport. The consignment had been smuggled into the country from Bangladesh and was headed to Bangalore.
The bureau, along with the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, had rescued the birds in a joint operation and arrested two men.
“The birds, including the Hyacinth macaw, are dehydrated… we are giving a solution of water mixed with sugar and salt apart from fruits and nuts. We have taken all precautionary measures,” zoo director Samanta said.
Vinod Kumar Yadav, the member secretary of West Bengal Zoo Authority, a nodal agency that monitors and controls zoos all over the state, said this was possibly the first time a Hyacinth macaw had been brought to a zoo hospital. “They are a rare and exotic. We did not have them at the Alipore zoo. People should not keep them as pets… they are trapped in the wild and few survive the trauma of it. It is also illegal to keep them in captivity.”