March 5, 2009 11:28:04 pm
If you thought the Mumbai Fire Brigade has its duties restricted to saving human life and property,the latest statistics on its rescue operations are an eye-opener. The department data show that the officials had rescued 4,609 birds and animals in 2008-09,compared to 395 persons during the period.
A similar trend was recorded in 2006-07 also,with 963 animals and birds being rescued as against 576 people.
Our control room gets an average of 40 calls daily. Nearly half of them are about birds or animals that need rescuing. A majority of these cases involve birds getting entangled in the manja of kites while instances of trapped animals are comparatively fewer, said chief fire officer P D Karguppikar.
Pigeons and crows are those usually rescued while kites and eagles figure occasionally. We have also rescued animals like buffaloes,dogs and cats. Big animals get stuck in ditches or open drains and pets get stuck in lifts, he said.
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The statistics for December and January reveal that while 339 birds and 25 animals were rescued in December,the numbers rose to 969 birds and 44 animals in January. In comparison,21 persons were rescued in December and 27 in January.
Officials said the monsoon and the December-January period usually record the largest number of bird rescues. While there is no specific pattern of animals getting trapped,the December-January period is the kite-flying season and many birds get trapped in the manja. The Makar Sankranti period is the busiest for us with respect to bird rescues, Karguppikar said.
The officials said there has been a rise in the bird and animal rescue calls over the past couple of years. The numbers have steadily risen in the past few years as the citizens are now aware that our department is equipped to deal with such cases also. Sometimes,citizens even call us for rescuing a bird which is stuck at a height of 15-20 ft. When we ask them what stops them from rescuing the bird themselves,they say they are sceptical that the bird might hurt them, fire officer Sanjay Manjrekar said.
Besides rescuing them,the officials also examine the birds and animals for injuries and they hand them over to local organisations if medical aid is required. Some local mandals and private individuals have been providing medical aid to these rescued animals and birds. Their numbers are available at the control room and they are contacted if we have a hurt bird or animal, Manjrekar said.
The officials also consult veterinarians occasionally. While the birds rarely hurt us,we have to take injections if they scratch us with their claws or so, one of them said.
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