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191 birds, bats rescued from residence of 'animal lover'

Forest department officials said that Pradeep Gabriel D’Souza had rescued the injured beasts, and are investigating to find out why he did not inform the forest department about them

Mumbai: The wildlife wing of the Thane Forest Department (TFD) on Friday rescued 191 birds and bats from Masjid Bunder, from the residence of a local. After receiving a tip-off, forest department officers reached the residence and rescued the animals from Pradeep Gabriel D’souza’s residence.

Seven full-grown bats, 25 parrots, 25 owls, 95 kites and nine sea birds have been taken to the Bombay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA) in Parel. Pics/Datta Kumbhar
Seven full-grown bats, 25 parrots, 25 owls, 95 kites and nine sea birds have been taken to the Bombay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA) in Parel. Pics/Datta Kumbhar

The rescued birds included owls, kites, parrots and sea birds. According to the forest department (FD) officials, D’souza is a bird lover and rescues injured birds. But, why he didn’t release the birds or contact officials after rescuing them remains a mystery.

Out of the 191 animals rescued, 152 have been taken to the Bombay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA) in Parel. These include seven full-grown bats, 25 parrots, 25 owls, 95 kites and nine sea birds.

The hospital also conducted veterinary examinations on the 57 animals that were brought in on Saturday. It was found that one owl is ailing. All the seven bats were found active and fit for discharge. The parrots were found unfit to fly, as their wings had been shorn off. About 40 kites have been shifted to Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park in Katraj, Pune.

Lt Col (Dr) JC Khanna, secretary and officer-in-charge of BSPCA, said, “The birds have been kept in the hospital since March 28. Seven fit bats were taken back by the forest department on Sunday evening. We have appointed an employee to specially take care of the birds, and the veterinarians go on rounds twice a day.”

However, an officer from the hospital said, “The wards are undergoing repair work. The number of birds and bats is huge, and so, the hospital hopes that the FD will shift the birds from the hospital as soon as they are fit.”

Commenting on the case, KP Singh, chief conservator of forest, Thane, said, “An investigation is in progress and the man will be charged under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, as he should have informed us about the rescued birds, according to the law.”

What the expert says
Taking the custody of any wildlife without taking the permission of the forest department may land any individual, group or organisation in trouble, as it is considered a violation of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

As per the law, a person who is booked for violation of the Act, can be punished under the law with imprisonment up to three years, or a fine up to Rs 25,000, or both. - Pawan Sharma, president and founder of Resqink Association of Wildlife Welfare (RAWW), an NGO

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