When the rubbish heaps shrink during lockdown, black kites, crows, pigeons find it difficult to survive in Karachi
A view of a kite flying over trash spread near the Korangi area of Karachi. PHOTO: INP / FILE
KARACHI: When locking causes a decrease in human activity around the Sindh urban area, it appears that thousands of scavengers, such as black kites and crows, which usually fly through the sky quickly disappear.
Considering this phenomenon occurs during the breeding season, bird lovers and wildlife experts have expressed concern that a large part of the bird population in the city center will be greatly affected in the coming months.
Concerns arose from previous trends, witnessed over the past few weeks, birds find it difficult to survive in unusual circumstances after locking.
“I think many newborn birds have died of starvation,” Dr. Syed Saud Arshad, a bird lover and veterinarian. “There is almost no food available for newborn chicks during the first week of confinement,” he explained, adding that some birds, such as pigeons, may also suffer from memory loss due to starvation.
Previously, black kites and crows would migrate to the outskirts of the city of Karachi when faced with food shortages and this migration was natural, he said. “But this is an unusual situation that we witness when locked up,” he added.
According to Zuhaib Ahmed, another pet lover, scavengers have disappeared from the city due to the closure of restaurants, shops and markets, and more importantly, the lack of garbage from this business.
“Garbage is their main food source,” he explained, adding that scavengers, when they cannot find food in an area, will move for some time. “They rely on human activities for food.”
Ahmed also expressed fears that the closure would directly affect the newborn birds, which could lead to a drastic reduction in their population in the city.
Voicing the same view, Sindh wildlife department conservator Javed Ahmed Mahar noted that in several pockets in Karachi, garbage dumps were dumped, scavenger populations have multiplied, “but overall, we are seeing a reduction [in their presence]. “
According to wildlife experts, the increase in the black kite population in the city in recent years is an indicator of the increasing amount of rubbish in Karachi.
“These birds are a blessing for this city,” Mahar said. “They are natural scavengers and help humans.”
Akhtar Ahmed, resident of Ibrahim Hyderi, witnessed this behavior firsthand when the number of black kites in his area increased dramatically recently. He said that the birds helped residents clean up the garbage produced from factories in the harbor and then dumped it on the side of the road.
However, the symbiotic relationship ends after locking, because the workplace remains closed, reducing waste to a minimum. As a result, scavengers birds quickly disappear from the city sky.
This moved Dr. Arshad, and his friends, who shared his love for birds, to take the initiative to feed them regularly, especially pigeons, in various places, including Nagan Chowrangi, Safoora Chowrangi, Nazimabad and Landhi. “We realize that they will die if we don’t feed them on time.”