25
May , 2017
Thursday

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Young Egret

As the modern era of mankind entered into the new millennium, it brought with it not just hate, disbelief, war and criticism but also a ray of hope and patience to find out what lies beyond the numerical superstition.

It was a calm and bright morning in Baghlingampally, one of the busiest parts of the city where hundreds of people are seen commuting everyday. The area is a beautiful example of urban lifestyle and undeniably one of the safest parts of the city to live in. It was on this beautiful morning of the year 2000 that Mr.Ravi, the supervisor of Sundarayya Park in Baghlingampally, spotted something strange on the famous Tamarind tree inside the park. He was the first one to notice that the new millennium had brought with it a good omen. His discovery was rejoiced by everyone in the surrounding locale and soon, it became quite famous. Mr.Ravi spotted Great white Egrets and Cattle Egrets, beautiful birds of the tropics, which migrate during the spring season. This species is said to bring luck and peace to the land where it migrates. The residents of Baghlingampally were overjoyed.

“I love this Park very much. I come here everyday in the morning as I am a member of the laughing club. I’ve been observing these birds for the past 8 years and today I can say that there is a decrease of at least 25% of the birds that used this roosting place”, says Mr.Santosh Kumar, a teacher. When asked the reason for the decline, he says he is not sure of it. Saurabh is a student of SNIST and he knows the perfect time to go to the park and enjoy its serenity as he has been doing so for the past 6 years. He reports seeing dead Egrets everyday. He showed us birds hanging from the tree and almost jumped up in excitement as he scuffled around to spot a fallen one being swept into the M.C.H. trailer.

It is not just Mr.Santosh and Saurabh but almost every nature lover and people, who make routine visits to the park have observed that the birds have been ‘disappearing’. A local NGO named Ahayog organization, with the help of a few wild life activists, went to the park and conducted a survey. They finally found out the reason for the mishappenings. According to them, the birds strangle themselves accidentally or get trapped and fall off the tree. But how can it happen on such a huge tree? How can nature’s creations of a primitive order succumb to nature itself? Well, unfortunately, it is the people of the locality, who are unknowingly causing the death of these birds.

Not so beautiful now, is it? Credit:Poet's Revenge

Not so beautiful now, is it? Credit:Poet's Revenge

It would be surprising to learn that the birds die in this fashion because of the kite-strings which are cargoed into strategic positions on the tree, unfortunately. The slender necked birds cannot match the strength of the local Tangoos or Jhumri. “I totally deny these statements. What proof do you have? I have been working here for the past 3 years and have seen no such thing happen”, shrieks Mr.Bhaskar, the present supervisor of the park. “It is, as Darwin said, natural selection. The weak ones die and the strong ones fly. The birds have come to survive and fend for themselves in this urban jungle, where it is difficult for man himself to find food. He points to the younger Egrets scampering around for food. See, that Egret, that it is on the ground now, will stay on the ground and die in days to come as it cannot fly up to safety in the trees.” He tells us that there is no government body assigned to take care of these heavenly creatures. “I’m not sure though”, he shrugs. He refers to a Mr.Venkateshwar Reddy (CVO) of the Veterinary department of GHMC.

Its 11A.M. on a clear Monday and everyone is up and about. But unfortunately, the CVO is not available. “We are responsible for animals such as dogs, the stray ones and pigs. We are not responsible for the birds. Why should we bother? For what does the blue cross exist?”, a typist at the office says. “I am deeply hurt and ashamed at the state of the government and the laws, which do not include a species, which has chosen an urban habitat as it’s protection”, says Vihari, a student of IHM Hyderabad. Kranthi Kumar, a B.Tech student of a local engineering college is one of the lucky ones to have a view of the Park from his window. He has a direct view of the birds and is a keen observer of their roosting habits. He adds that it’s not just the egrets but also pigeons that die for the same reason. “But what can we do about it? It is nature’s call”, is what we got to hear.

Maybe, it is otherwise. Maybe, we can help save these poor creatures. Yes, it is the student community that needs to step up to the task. Let us make sure that we don’t celebrate the ritual part of the joyous festival of Sankranthi in populated places, where it is actually dangerous for wildlife and humans equally. Kite-flying should be done only in huge open places. This notion will definitely get a strong resistance from our religious state, but the first step would be to imbibe a sense of responsibility and awareness among students like us. Let us ban the use of red, orange rubber bands and encourage the manufacture of only blue, black ones as the birds think of them to be worms and eat them. Thousands of birds die every year because of our negligence. If only we could ever notice, the secondary beings, as we call them, silently await a savior to free them from a life of constant fear and unnatural death. ‘Maybe we’ll turn it all around, cause it’s not too late, it’s never too late!’

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