The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India has teamed up with the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) to erect billboards in Chandni Chowk area of Old Delhi warning against buying and selling protected birds as it can result in a fine and even jail term, it was announced on Thursday.

The development comes after PETA had tipped-off Delhi police leading to the rescue of thousands of Indian birds - protected under the Wild Life (Protection) Act (WPA), 1972 - from illegal traders in Kabutar market, Chandni Chowk recently.

Hill mynas were among the species of bird seized by the police during the raid. They are protected under Schedule I of the WPA, 1972, and an offence involving them is punishable with a prison sentence of up to seven years and a fine of at least Rs 10,000.

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The other rescued birds - parakeets and muniyas - are protected species under Schedule IV of the WPA, 1972, and an offence involving them may lead to imprisonment for up to three years or a fine of up to Rs 25,000 or both.

The billboards are located at two three locations in the vicinity of Jama Masjid, a PETA India statement said.

"Illegal bird trade of our wild species as well as exotic species is rampant across the length and breadth of our country. In spite of stringent legal provisions and enforcement action, this crime continues unabated. It is time that we say no to illegal bird trade and help spread awareness to stop demand domestically as well as internationally," Tilotama Varma, Additional Director, WCCB, said.

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PETA India senior advocacy officer Harshil Maheshwari. "The ad blitz by PETA India and the WCCB is a reminder that buyers and sellers of protected animals could end up locked away, just like the vulnerable birds they imprison."