Large number of black kites dropping dead in Siliguri

Siliguri, 07 Apr:

“The number of black kites dropping from the skies over Siliguri since Friday has reached an alarming level with 90% of them dropping dead,” said officials of Himalayan Nature and Adventure Foundation [HNAF], Siliguri. Many of the birds are undergoing treatment at Bengal Safari: North Bengal Wild Animals Park’s Veterinary Hospital near Salugara in Siliguri.

Numerous black kites were seen falling to the ground at Children Park in College Para and Tikiapars in Siliguri on Friday.

West Bengal Tourism Department along with the Forest Department visited the spots to take stock of the situation on Friday.

Programme co-coordinator, HNAF, Animesh Bose, said, “These scavenging birds play a vital role as environment purifiers and their absence will directly affect the environment. The absence of these birds will hamper the environment as they play an important role in the ecosystem by consuming rotting carcasses and cleaning the environment preventing the spread of diseases.

Five wards in Siliguri namely Ward no 28,24,19,17 and 12 have seen a high number of birds falling to the ground wherein the situation is the most severe in Ward no 17.”

Mr Bose further said that food poisoning may be the cause of death. However, the actual cause of death can be ascertained only after proper investigation, he added.

“We demand a thorough examination of the birds so that we know what they consumed and identify the cause as the absence of these birds is a threat to the environment. Similar incidents had surfaced in the last two years wherein 26 black kites died owing to food poisoning but it was not reported in the media,” claimed Mr Bose.

Meanwhile, Director of Bengal Safari: North Bengal Wild Animals Park, Arun Mukherjee, said that the samples will be sent for testing to Beligachia Veterinary Hospital in Kolkata.

“We are providing medical aid to the ailing birds but the death ratio is high. As a precautionary measure we have given directions for incinerating the dead birds,” said Mr Mukherjee.

Animal Resource Development Department [ARDD], State Pollution Control Department and the Forest Department are investigating the incident.