600 birds, animals in Mumbai dehydrated as temperature soars
With rising temperatures, fewer water bodies and reduced tree cover in the city, dehydration cases among birds are on the rise.
The Bombay Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA), an NGO which has the largest animal hospital in Mumbai, recorded 414 cases of bird dehydration cases between February 15 and March 31. Another 177 dehydration cases for dogs (79), cats (53), and other large animals were reported during the same time at BSPCA. There have been four bird deaths so far, said BSPCA officials.
“We recorded maximum cases on March 25 when maximum temperatures touched 41 degree Celsius. It is a matter of serious concern that even before April we have recorded 600 dehydration cases. This year we might have maximum heat-related mortalities for birds and animals ,” said Lt Col Dr. JC Khanna, chief executive officer in charge, BSPCA.
Last year, the city recorded 1,224 dehydration cases of birds and 794 dehydration cases in 2016. In 2017, BPSCA recorded 75 cases of dehydration of pet dogs and 33 of cats in summer. In 2016, the numbers were 45 for pet dogs and 18 for cats. Dr Rina Dev, official wildlife veterinarian, forest department, Mumbai said she had been witnessing at least one dehydration case per day.
“There have been five deaths directly related to dehydration. Maximum cases have been for Indian ringneck parakeets and raptors. People are mostly bringing hatchlings that have fallen from nests.”
In Mumbai, 70% of the bird population comprises of pigeons and the rest is made up of crows, kites, owls, koels, parrots and sea and wetland birds. “We have rescued close to 60 birds last month,” said Sunish Subramaniam, secretary, NGO Plants and Animal Welfare Society (PAWS-Mumbai).
“Birds aren’t getting access to food, water or shelter,” said Dr. Khanna. “Apart from fruit trees, citizens should plant creepers and bonsais at their balconies, and keep water bowls to attract birds.”
The Bombay Veterinary College said it will get tougher in April and May. “The concrete structures are further heating up nests. We need smaller green spaces to help these birds build better homes and provide access to water,” said Dr. Dr. Rajiv Gaikwad, professor and head of department, veterinary services, Bombay Veterinary College.