By Khushboo Narayan, Sapna Agarwal
Sudip Guria chose a pair of pyrrhura conures—of the parrot family, but found typically in Central and South America—to be his first pets. That was in 2010. Since then, he has bought 30 different kinds of conures at Rs.30,000-70,000 a pair.
“Birds help me unwind,” says Guria, a senior manager at shipping agency Parekh Marine Agencies Pvt. Ltd. It also helps that conures are easy to manage, live long and bond easily with their owners. “We did not want big birds or other pets like dogs or cats as they are messy, need a lot of space and make a lot of noise,” he says.
A growing number of Indians like Guria are graduating from keeping cats, dogs and goldfish as pets to owning macaws, cockatoos and a host of other exotic species bought at hefty price tags.
The growing demand for non-native animals and birds as pets has given rise to thriving businesses across the country—such as at Crawford Market in Mumbai, Russell Market in Bangalore and Mulki Bazaar in Hyderabad.
Abdul Wahab has a plush 2,000 sq ft. showroom named Wet Pets in the heart of Bangalore on Infantry Road. The third-generation breeder and trader says he gets 40-50 enquiries every day for exotic pets, translating into daily sales of 12-20 birds or animals.
On average, a pair of African grey parrots or talking birds such as Amazon parrots sell at Rs.30,000 to Rs.4 lakh a pair. That compares with Rs.500-800 a pair for the more common lovebirds. The kangaroo-like wallaby, native to Australia and a moniker for its national rugby team, is priced at Rs.3-4 lakh. The birds are preferred because they don’t take up much space and are easier to manage. More....