Thousands of birds, hundreds of animals died in Maharashtra hailstorms: BNHS

Mumbai, Over 65,000 birds and hundreds of mammals were killed and many more injured during the hailstorms in Maharashtra between February and April this year, a report released here Tuesday said.

The effect of the hailstorms on avian and terrestrial creatures has been revealed in a report prepared by the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) project scientist Sujit Narwade and field assistant Vikas Pisal.

Scores of other field teams, officials and media persons contributed to the report.

The species include threatened and migratory birds like Painted Stork, Blackheaded Ibis, Ruddy Shelduck, Northern Shoveller and others whose nests, chicks and juveniles were claimed by the hailstones in different parts of the state.

An injured Greater Flamingo, rescued near Ujani Dam in Solapur and nursed at Katraj Zoo, Pune, succumbed to its injuries a few days later.

About 31,000 Rosy Starlings were found dead in different parts of the state and comprised nearly half the total number of avian deaths due to the hailstones, followed by over 12,000 House Sparrows, the BNHS study said.

The casualty list comprises 76 of the magnificent Indian Peafowl, 3,150 Roseringed Parakeets (Parrots), Quails, Cattle Egrets, Doves, Frankolin Partridges, Sunbirds, Housecrows, Owls, Redrumped Swallows and over 9,700 birds that could not be recognised.

Pune district bore the brunt of the avian tragedy with 21,310 deaths, followed by Nashik with 20,607 casualties during the hailstorms.

The wild mammals that perished included 15 Indian Blackbucks, four Neelgais, 11 Jungle Cats, 500 Flying Foxes, 350 Greater Short-Nosed Fruit Bats, four Chinkaras, eight Hanuman Langurs, some Black Naped Hares and Five-Striped Squirrels.

Again, the maximum mammalian casualties were reported from Pune district, according to the BNHS report.

The districts where BNHS teams carried out surveys in areas with large number of casualties included Pune, Nashik, Beed, Latur, Washim, Buldhana, Nanded, Jalgaon, Wardha, Yavatmal, Osmanabad, Solapur and Ahmednagar.

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