Animals, birds reel under heat; wildlife lovers worried
In 2014, the NGO recorded 1,431 cases (including 589 dogs, 213 cats and 629 birds) of animals suffering from dehydration in city
The rapid urbanisation, depleting greenery and shrinking water bodies are taking a toll on animals and birds in the city, especially during the summer season, say animal rights activists.
There has been a rise in the number of birds and animals suffering from heat-related ailments during summers, as per data collected by The Bombay Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Mumbai in the last five years. In 2014, the NGO recorded 1,431 cases (including 589 dogs, 213 cats and 629 birds) of animals suffering from dehydration in city. The figure went up to 1,512 (628 dogs, 222 cats and 662 birds) in 2015, 1,564 (652 dogs, 236 cats and 676 birds) in 2016 and 1,686 (710 dogs, 258 cats and 718 birds) in 2017, as per BSPCA, which was formed in 1874 to provide help and relief to all animals in Mumbai.
Some other animals like flamingos, foxes, jackals, tiger cubs and turtles were also brought for treatment to the hospital run by the organisation. "With the increase in temperature, the cases of dehydration among birds are on the rise. The main reason for it is the fast shrinking green cover and water bodies in the city. During the summer season, our hospital gets 20 to 25 per cent more birds and animals suffering from dehydration," BSPCA secretary Lt Col Dr J C Khanna said. He suggested that if people plant creepers and bonsais in their balconies and keep water bowls in summers, it would help the birds.
Stalin D, the convener of city-based NGO Vanshakti, which is vehemently opposing tree cutting for the Metro-3 project, said Mumbai has become a "heat trap", while blaming it on the mushrooming glass buildings and concretisation of the metropolis.
"There has been a loss of trees and natural shade. The water bodies have depleted and are polluted. Therefore, birds are suffering from dehydration," he said. "In the long run, our government needs to restore the natural habitats and save the water bodies and greenery. They must realise that every tree and water body matters," he said.
Dr Rajiv Gaikwad, professor from the Bombay Veterinary College, said the shrinking water bodies and the unavailability of trees for natural shade are the prime reasons for the rise in cases of birds and animals falling sick during summers.
Arvind Shah, the founder of city-based NGO Karuna, that works for animals and birds in distress since the last 20 years, has launched a helpline number to report about birds/ animals in distress or found injured.
On getting a call, the organisation's van goes to the spot, picks up the animal and rescues it. "We used to distribute clay bowls earlier to a number of households appealing them to keep water in it during the summer. Since the last three years, we have been distributing ceramic bowls which are unbreakable and easy to clean," Shah said.
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