Hyderabad officials to relocate pigeons to fight menace

Recently, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) captured over 500 pigeons from the Moazzam Jahi market area and released them in the forests near Srisailam. DH Photo

Pigeon rearing, once a favorite pass time of the Nizam of Hyderabad, has become a menace to heritage structures and public health with the population of these winged friends exploding in the city. 

Recently, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) captured over 500 pigeons from the Moazzam Jahi market area and released them in the forests near Srisailam.

The move came after the municipal authority's several warnings to the general public and bird enthusiasts to stop feeding the bird failed to yield results. The problem is prevalent in the Charminar, Begum Bazar and Hasmat Gunj part of the old city, and Himayatnagar, Indira Park, Tank Bund, KBR National Park and Ameerpet in the new city.

People offer huge quantities of grains to the pigeons, believing that it would bring them good luck. Many in the old city, however, keep the pigeons as a hobby. Shops that sell grain to feed the birds have sprung up near these localities.

Calling for a policy decision by the civic authorities to curb the menace, Dr V V Rao, an ornithologist at the Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University, pointed out that availability of food in huge quantities had resulted in the sudden explosion of pigeon pollution. “Other than habitat destruction, huge pigeon population also resulted in the decline in the population of other birds such as the sparrow, myna, and parakeet,” Rao said.

Awareness

JD Wilson of the GHMC's Khairatabad zone's Veterinary Department who has taken the first step to relocate the birds said, “In several places where we have erected boards urging people not to feed, the reaction was that of anger. Few tore them away. We have also seized the grain selling carts and shops near these spots, but they returned.” The GHMC has roped in Vasudeva Rao, who, on his own, has started distributing pamphlets against feeding the birds.

However, environmentalists point out that releasing the birds in the forest area is not the solution as they always find their way to urban population. Local bird enthusiasts pointed out that the GHMC was just shifting the problem and that pigeons were urban birds that can’t live in a forest area. They preferred urban areas because of the availability of food.

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