To the Rescue of Wild Birds and Cobras
Revelling in the Flight of Wild Pigeons
I revelled in the flight of a flock of pigeons that would fly around my home. I noticed among the grey pigeons, a brown one and a couple of white ones. I would throw rice over the wall for them.
Then suddenly they vanished.
Reporting the Killing of Snakes
A couple of days ago, I saw them at the construction site nearby, gathered around the shack of the labourer who was recently caught catching and killing cobras.
My report to the BBMP Forest Cell here in Bangalore about the labourer killing cobras led to the revoking of many fake snake catching licences.
Here's an excerpt from the article by Chetan R. in the Bangalore Mirror, December 2012:
'Cobras are a protected species under the Wildlife Protection Act and keeping them in captivity is a crime. The BBMP's Wildlife Cell estimates that there are at least 50 fake rescuers operating in the city.
"I am constructing a house in the area and I found these kids of a labourer playing with baby snake kept in a bottle," Saran said. "When I asked them to release it, they refused and told me that they would make medicine out of it. Some days ago I had found the labourer with the bottled snake.On questioning him, he told me a lot of rubbish and showed me a visiting card. He said he had a licence to capture snakes. However, I ensured the cobra was released immediately. I also alerted the forest cell sleuths."
And now this.
I have called the same people from BBMP about the pigeons. I notice that the labourer keeps them in a room in the building where he's working and lets them out a couple of times a day to feed them.
I notice that the pigeons don't fly anymore, although the labourer insists they do. He tells me tall stories about buying them. I know he aims to sell them. His daughter tells me that someone gave him these birds. It's obvious he's hiding something again.
I can't bear the thought of clipped wings. It's like denying fish the water in which they swim. Or denying us the ground on which we walk.
I have also called People for Animals. Although they're pretty far from this place, they're ready to come and take a look. They have a rehabilitation centre and don't insist on donations.
No one Cares About Pigeons in Bangalore
But the BBMP Forest Cell said they couldn’t do much about the pigeons. That’s too bad. I suppose they’re more common than the cobras. And the People For Animals told me they were too far away.
When I checked up the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabiliatation Centre website, I saw that they list several birds including parakeets and owls, but not prigeons and doves.
Should You Pick Up an Injured Bird?
I did not know that picking up an injured baby crow from the road would prove fatal for the bird. I kept it in a basket in my garden because it could hop around a little, hoping its parents would find him, but it managed to fly into the big banyan tree behind my home where it attracted a huge group of cacophonous crows that killed him.
I was aghast and saddened. I was later told that the human scent on the bird had turned it into an outcast.
Something similar happened when my cat brought in an injured baby pigeon and I took it back to the window ledge where I had seen a nesting pigeon couple with babies. I hoped they would look after him, but instead the crows got the poor bird.
So why do the experts advice you to put injured birds in warm cardboard boxes and tend them until they are able to fly? Are they not outcasts too?
If you are brave enough to do it yourself, here are some tips.
If you come across unlicensed snake catchers in Bangalore, call the BBMP Wildlife Cell helpline at 9880108801.