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Summer heat: 1,224 birds found dehydrated between March and May, cases up by 33% since last year

As many as 75 pet dogs and 33 cats were also brought to the BSPCA hospital in Mumbai, suffering from dehydration

mumbai Updated: May 31, 2017 10:40 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
Vishnu Nair of PAWS gives rescued Kites multivitamin drops.
Vishnu Nair of PAWS gives rescued Kites multivitamin drops.(HT Photo)

As many as 1,224 birds were found dehydrated between March and May in Mumbai. The reason: rising temperatures, scarce water bodies and fewer trees in the city.

The Bombay Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA), a non-government organisation that has the largest animal hospital in Mumbai, recorded a 33% rise in bird dehydration cases this year. Last year, the organisation recorded 794 cases of dehydrated birds.

As many as 75 pet dogs and 33 cats were also brought to the hospital suffering from dehydration, said the BSPCA. Last year, 45 pet dogs and 18 cats were dehydrated.

Vishnu Nair (left) and Nisha Kunju of PAWS with rescued Kites.
Vishnu Nair (left) and Nisha Kunju of PAWS with rescued Kites. ( HT Photo )

“More animals were dehydrated this year as temperatures started rising from March, as opposed to the gradual rise from April onwards. Mumbai has become a concrete jungle. The city has few green patches. After flying for hours, birds are unable to find either water or shelter, which is why the majority of them collapse on the streets,” said Lt Col Dr JC Khanna, chief executive officer in charge, BSPCA.

“Pet dogs and cats, mostly exotic breeds, are used to air-conditioned rooms. When they are taken outside, this 8 degree Celsius rise in temperatures leads to dehydration,” he added.

Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) officials said this was a serious environmental concern. “People have been negligent and indifferent towards these birds. If they are not fed or given water and have to face the heat, they are bound to be dehydrated. Such cases may increase,” said Isaac Kehimkar, deputy director, BNHS. “Pets must be treated like family and not showpieces. There is need for increased awareness,” he added.

Over the past three days, NGO Plants and Animal Welfare Society (PAWS-Mumbai) rescued nine birds — seven kites and two parrots — from Bhandup, Vikhroli, Andheri, Marol and Goregaon. “The birds got dehydrated, fell from their perch and were attacked by crows. They even lost feathers in the attack,” said Sunish Subramaniam Kunju, secretary, PAWS-Mumbai. “We appeal to citizens to contact the nearest animal welfare organisation or veterinarian if they find birds or animals in distress,” he said.

Dr Khanna said birds’ water sources had been destroyed. “Earlier, there were several points in urban areas, where birds and animals could drink or bathe. The civic body would fill these regularly. However, acting on citizens’ complaints that the water at these spots was dirty, the civic body stopped filling them,” he said.

As many as 70% of Mumbai’s birds are pigeons. The city also sees crows, kites, owls, koels, parrots and a number of sea birds. “We have been giving dehydrated birds glucose water, multivitamin and antibiotic syrups. They are expected to recover within a week or two,” said Dr Khanna.

The Thane Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (TSPCA) and NGO Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare (RAWW) started an initiative to provide fresh clean water to animals and birds by placing water bowls across the city. “We would like our animals to have fresh clean water throughout the year and not just during summer,” said Pawan Sharma, president, RAWW. “Heavy cement water bowls are being constructed at residential and commercial areas where our members and volunteers reside. They will ensure that these bowls are regularly filled and cleaned.”

First Published: May 08, 2017 15:12 IST

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