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22 Sep 2020, Edition - 1897, Tuesday

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Coimbatore

Stray dogs hunt migratory birds in wetlands

Jabez John Anand

Migratory and local birds that visit the lakes in Coimbatore are faced with a bizarre threat. They are being hunted by stray dogs that wander the areas.

Several incidents have been witnessed in lakes, including Ukkadam Big Tank, Kurichi Wetland and Singanallur, where dogs are found to be chasing and killing birds. Is it just the basic instinct of the dogs to act as hunters? According to environmentalists, it is human activity, such as dumping waste in the lakes, that instigate dogs to behave so.

S Chandrasekar, from the NGO called Vanam Trust of India, claimed that dogs are lured to the lakes to feed on poultry and other waste dumped on the bunds of the lakes. “We have been repeatedly complaining to put an end to this. Once the dogs get used to the taste of the waste and blood, they will obviously hunt for more,” he added.

Another activist who had witnessed this at the Singanallur Lake claimed that some dogs make a regular appearance to hunt birds that are close to the bunds. “Waders, including black winged stilts, sandpipers, and other migratory and local birds, are repeatedly chased by dogs. Though the birds become aware of the dogs and escape, it is important that we identify specific dogs and clear them from the area,” he said.

P Pramod, principal scientist at the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History said that it is an issue which needs to be addressed immediately and added that getting rid of dogs from around the lakes would put an end to the scenario. “We have to deal with the stray dog issue very seriously in urban areas, but how to do it is a million dollar question. We have seen how Kerala is suffering in the issue. More in-depth discussions need to happen,” he said.

Reacting to the issue, Coimbatore Corporation Commissioner K Vijayakarthikeyan said that the Corporation was soon to formulate an action plan to curb dumping of poultry waste.

“Our health team has also been taking effective measures to curb stray dog menace,” he added.

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