Birds fall from the sky as heatwave scorches India

May 12, 2022 - 3:22 PM
A caretaker feeds water mixed with multivitamins to a parakeet after it was dehydrated due to heat at Jivdaya Charitable Trust, a non-governmental rehabilitation centre for birds and animals, during hot weather in Ahmedabad, India, May 11, 2022. (Reuters/Amit Dave)

 Rescuers in India’s western Gujarat state are picking up dozens of exhausted and dehydrated birds dropping everyday as a scorching heatwave dries out water sources in the state’s biggest city, veterinary doctors and animal rescuers say.

Large swathes of South Asia are drying up in the hottest pre-summer months in recent years, prompting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to warn of rising fire risks.

Doctors in an animal hospital managed by non-profit Jivdaya Charitable Trust in Ahmedabad said they have treated thousands of birds in the last few weeks, adding that rescuers bring dozens of high flying birds such as pigeons or kites everyday.

“This year has been one of the worst in the recent times. We have seen a 10% increase in the number of birds that need rescuing,” Manoj Bhavsar, who works closely with the trust and has been rescuing birds for over a decade.

Animal doctors at the trust-run hospital were seen feeding birds multi-vitamin tablets and injecting water into their mouths using syringes on Wednesday.

Health officials in Gujarat have issued advisories to hospitals to set up special wards for heat stroke and other heat-related diseases due to the rise in temperatures.

—Writing by Sudarshan Varadhan; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise