Stork with ring wrapped around beak rescued after five-day hunt | gurgaon | Hindustan Times
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Stork with ring wrapped around beak rescued after five-day hunt

Two birdwatchers managed to capture the bird after chasing it for over four kilometres in the vicinity of Najafgarh lake. It had been unable to eat due to the plastic ornament on its beak.

gurgaon Updated: Jun 13, 2018 16:17 IST
Leena Dhankhar
Leena Dhankhar
Hindustan Times, Gurugram
The male black-necked stork is currently recuperating at the Sultanpur National Park.
The male black-necked stork is currently recuperating at the Sultanpur National Park. (HT Photo)

A male black-necked stork that had to go hungry for five days because of a plastic ring wrapped around its beak was rescued from Kherki Majra in Dhankot on Wednesday morning.

The bird – aged over two years – is being kept under observation at the Sultanpur National Park, and is reportedly in a healthy condition.

The black-necked stork was rescued by two birdwatchers from the vicinity of the Najafgarh lake, about nine km from Gurugram. They were not part of the three teams formed by the wildlife department to locate the elusive bird.

Dr Ashok Khasa, a veterinary surgeon with the wildlife department, said the stork was first spotted by a Delhi-based birdwatcher in the Basai wetlands on Friday. However, it fled towards Najafgarh before anybody could remove the plastic ring from its beak, he added.

Gurugram’s wildlife department formed three teams consisting of forest officials, Bombay Natural History society members and birdwatchers hailing from Delhi and Jhajjar as soon as it was alerted to the stork’s presence in its jurisdiction. The search operation was launched on Saturday morning, wildlife officials said.

“As soon as we received the picture of the stork, we formed teams to rescue it. We started off early on Saturday, and reached the area around 6 am. We searched the first patch near Najafgarh Lake until 11 pm,” said wildlife inspector Sunil Kumar.

Sonu Dalal, one of the rescuers, poses with the rescued stork. (HT Photo)

Officials said the task was especially difficult because high-tension wires in the area prevented them from using drones. Besides, the noise emitted by the miniature aircraft would have only made the bird shift its base.

Help came from unlikely quarters. Rakesh Ahlawat, a 28-year-old birdwatcher from Dighal in Jhajjar district, and Sonu Dalal, a 32-year-old NGO volunteer from Mandothi in Jhajjar district, spotted the bird near the Kherki Majra fields around 7.20 am on Wednesday. The bird was captured after a four-km-long chase.

“We had been searching for the bird for the last three days, but in vain. On Wednesday, we reached the area where the wildlife team expected it to be. I finally spotted it in the field, and the chase began,” said Ahlawat.

The birdwatcher said that the bird tried to fly away three times, but failed to do so. “It then ran into the fields, with both of us hot on its trail. Finally, after four kilometres, it got tired and gave up. We immediately informed wildlife officials and took it to the Sultanpur National Park,” Ahlawat added.

Wildlife officials immediately called the veterinarian and arranged for a tub with five fish. “The stork is feeling better, now that it has eaten. We have kept it under observation, and will release it once it is completely healthy. The two birdwatchers will be facilitated by the department for their commendable work,” said Vinod Kumar, additional principal chief conservator of forests, Gurugram.

Every winter, the Basai wetlands are visited by over 30,000 birds from various parts of the world – especially the northern hemisphere –as they move to warmer locales in search of food and shelter.