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Over 1.5 lakh flamingoes put up spectacular show in locked-down Mumbai




Flamingoes in Mumbai | Twitter | ANI

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New Delhi: It’s a visual treat for Mumbai these days with thousands of migratory flamingoes painting the city pink.

Despite a delay in their annual migration to wetlands in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) this year, the birds have come visiting with record high numbers.

The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) said there has been a 25 per cent increase in flamingo migration since 2019, when 1.2 lakh birds had come visiting. This year, over 1.5 lakh birds were spotted in the first week of April itself.

The society attributed this increase to lower human activity in areas such as Sewri, Thane Creek and the Talawe wetlands, comprising the NRI Complex, Seawoods and TS Chanakya in Navi Mumbai.

These areas would normally see a lot of construction work and human activity but the nationwide lockdown has created ideal conditions for the flamingoes to forage in the wetlands around these places.

Deepak Apte, director of BNHS, said the lockdown has given flamingoes a moment of peace and quiet to roost without disturbance. “Wetland destruction and developmental activities across several areas of the eastern seafront is another reason why larger bird numbers are getting squeezed into smaller pockets like in Navi Mumbai,” he explained.

The spike in the number of migratory flamingoes last year, from the usual 30,000-40,000 to 1.2 lakh, was attributed to an increase in sewage output and industrial runoff, which caused an increase of blue-green algae that these birds feed on.

Also read: Work on longest sea link in Mumbai has had little impact on flamingos, say officials

‘Nature doing her duty’

Actors like Dia Mirza, Raveena Tandon and Twinkle Khanna shared photos of the migratory birds on social media.

‘Iconic’ flamingoes

Out of the six flamingo species found in the world, the greater flamingo (taller, with a black-tipped pink bill) and the near-threatened lesser flamingo (shorter, with a dark crimson bill) are found in India.

A BNHS study has found that the number of lesser flamingoes are on the rise in India while the number of greater flamingoes are declining.

Flamingoes are considered iconic in Mumbai. Since the 1980s, flocks of 30,000-40,000 of the bird have been settling along the Thane Creek between September and April.

These birds arrive in the city from the north-west part of India, from Kutch in Gujarat and Sambhar Lake in Rajasthan. A smaller number of the birds are believed to fly in from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Israel.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region is said to be the the second-largest flamingo habitat along the west coast after Kutch, according to BNHS, which began its first formal survey of flamingos in the Thane Creek in 2018 as part of a 10-year study of wading birds.

Also read: Media rumours and vicious RWAs have been worst for animals during Covid: Maneka Gandhi



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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’




doctor with a stethoscope
A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay

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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”

Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot

‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.

Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


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