Rescuers in India’s western Gujarat state are picking up dozens of exhausted and dehydrated birds dropping every day as a scorching heatwave dries out water sources in the state’s biggest city, veterinary doctors and animal rescuers say.
Large swaths of South Asia are drying up in the hottest summer in decades, prompting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to warn of rising fire risks.
Doctors in an animal hospital managed by the non-profit Jivdaya Charitable Trust in Ahmedabad said they have treated thousands of birds in the last few weeks, adding that rescuers bring dozens of high flying birds such as pigeons or kites daily.
“This year has been one of the worst in recent times. We have seen a 10 percent increase in the number of birds that need rescuing,” said Manoj Bhavsar, who works closely with the trust and has been rescuing birds for more than a decade.
Animal doctors at the trust-run hospital were seen feeding birds multi-vitamin tablets and injecting water into their mouths using syringes on Wednesday.
Health officials in Gujarat have issued advisories to hospitals to set up special wards for heat stroke and other heat-related diseases due to the rise in temperatures.
Climate change causing heatwaves
All heatwaves today bear the unmistakable and measurable fingerprint of global warming, top experts on quantifying the effects of climate change on extreme weather said on Wednesday.
Burning fossil fuels and destroying forests have released enough greenhouse gases into the atmosphere to also boost the frequency and intensity of many floods, droughts, wildfires and tropical storms, they detailed in a state-of-science report.
“There is no doubt that climate change is a huge game changer when it comes to extreme heat,” Friederike Otto, a scientist at Imperial College London’s Grantham Institute, told AFP news agency.
Extreme hot spells such as the heatwave that gripped South Asia in March and April are already the most deadly of extreme events, she said.
“Every heatwave in the world is now made stronger and more likely to happen because of human-caused climate change,” Otto and co-author Ben Clarke of the University of Oxford said in the report, presented as a briefing paper for the news media.