Rumours of 80 bird deaths in Bengaluru causes panic

Rumours of 80 bird deaths in Bengaluru causes panic, poses new challenges for authorities

Carcasses of crows that died in the past week. DH photo

The death of 80 birds over the past week has come as a new challenge for authorities, who remain on their toes over fears of an epidemic outbreak. Social media speculations are only creating a panic-like situation. 

The deaths of common crow, pond heron, black kite and pigeons were initially considered stray incidents caused by a rise in temperature. But a sudden increase in bird deaths in the past three days has forced the authorities to take the matter seriously. H S Ranganathaswamy, deputy conservator of Forests, BBMP, confirmed several bird deaths from across the city. “As per wildlife rescue teams, there may be 80 or more. We have sent the carcasses for post-mortem and are waiting for the reports. Until then, we do not want to comment on speculations,” he said. 

He was referring to social media messages that the “deaths were caused by bird flu”. “Such messages are not based on facts. A large number of bird deaths can happen due to various reasons. We have to wait for the reports.”  

Prasanna Kumar, an honorary wildlife warden, said he had personally handled nearly 80 cases of bird death. “We saw 10 deaths behind the Mysuru Road Satellite Bus Station, eight in Uttarahalli area, four in Girinagar and three at the CAR (City Armed Reserve) office.”  Four carcasses have been sent for testing and the reports are expected on Monday, he said. 

“The death of a black kite, considered stronger than other crows, came as a major surprise. We were able to pick the carcass from the office of the deputy commissioner of police (CAR) and send it for a test at the right time,” he said. 

Deepak, a schoolteacher from Sarjapur who worked with bird rescue teams, told DH that he saw the carcasses of 15 birds, mostly crows and some pigeons, in Tavarekere, Wilson Garden, Sarjapur and other areas over the past week. 

A volunteer from East Bengaluru said social media was spreading misinformation that the birds were dying of coronavirus. “We are worried that this will lead to cruelty towards pets. Action must be taken against those responsible for this,” she said. 

According to Kumar, the deaths may have occurred due to poisoning or industrial wastewater stagnating in drains, not to mention the heatstroke and electric shock.

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