Pets are a source of comfort and joy for many. However, what happens when people adopt animals not for their company, but as a prized possession? Well, wildlife protection agencies are witnessing this problem in Kochi and Ernakulam. According to the latest news, wild animals have become the new pets in these Kerala cities.

There has been a rise in the number of cases filed under the Wildlife Protection Act since January. In the past five months, 15 cases have been registered in Trivandrum. According to the society for the prevention of cruelty to animals (SPCA), this number equals to the total number of cases received in 2016.

For this reason, the organisation conducts raids every week in Kochi. SPCA Inspector P M Sajith told The New Indian Express that this trend is carrying on in these cities even though people know its illegal to have these animals as pets.

According to him, birds are the most preferred pets in Kochi and Ernakulam. Hill parrots, snakes, tortoises and even peacocks are being bought by pet owners. The sale of these animals, which takes place illegally, has led to the rise in pet racketeering. Sajith added that pet racketeers sell a pair of birds for as much as Rs 6.000.

People tend to buy animals based astrology or information they find online, Sajith said, adding that turtle has now become a house pet because it’s considered to bring good luck.