Fury as scores of birds and young chicks are crushed to death and their eggs smashed as Indian developers bulldoze a tree
- Fury in India as contractors knock down tree home to dozens of birds and eggs
- Stunned onlookers watched as scores of birds were crushed in the branches
- The tree was bulldozed on Wednesday morning to widen the National Highway
- The contractor and JCB driver were arrested under the Wildlife Protection Act
There has been an outpouring of fury in India as scores of birds and young chicks were crushed to death and their eggs smashed as developers knocked down the tree they were living in.
The tree was bulldozed with a JCB on Wednesday morning in order to widen the National Highway near the town of Edavanna in Kerala’s Malappuram district.
The shocking scene captured the panicked last moments of dozens of rooks and cormorants that tried to flee as they realised their home was toppling.
While some adults managed to fly away, dozens were crushed under the falling leaves and branches and the young and eggs in the birds’ nests massacred.
Stunned locals were seen to come over to the fallen birds to try to help them and survey the damage.
Onlookers were horrified as developers bulldozed a tree that was home to scores of birds without any care to remove them beforehand
The tree came crashing down, crushing scores of birds and younglings and crushing their eggs in front of horrified bystanders
The Indian cormorant, which seemed to be the predominant species in the tree, is a protected species
Officials from the Kerala Forest Department visited the site to interview locals and investigate the incident
The JCB driver and the contractor were arrested after the incident and face prosecution, Manorama report. The same outlet reports that this is not an isolated incident but has become a ‘usual scene’ on the route.
All species of cormorants are protected under Indian law Schedule IV of the Wildlife Protection Act and any action that harms them is a punishable offence.
The Indian cormorant breeds in the summer and the loss of so many eggs and hatchlings will not be easily replaced by the surviving birds, which could have a knock on effect for the protected species.
The 44 second clip was posted to Twitter by Indian Forest Service officers Parveen Kaswan and Susanta Nanda today with the caption: ‘Everybody needs a house. How cruel we have become. Unknown location.’
Officials from the Kerala Forest Department visited the site to interview locals and investigate the incident.
An officer from the nearby Nilambur North Divisional Forest said that the probe was ongoing and that those responsible for the act would face strict punishment.
The tree was bulldozed with a JCB on Wednesday morning in order to widen the National Highway near the town of Edavanna in Kerala’s Malappuram district
The JCB driver and the contractor were arrested after the incident and face prosecution under Indian law Schedule IV of the Wildlife Protection Act
Forest Minister AK Saseendran described the felling of the tree as a ‘cruel act’ and denied that it was done with permission from his department.
Going further, he said that the contractor flouted clear instructions as to how to clear the path for the highway.
Saseendran assured that the forest department had strictly instructed all contractors that birds should be humanely removed from trees before they are cut down.
Minister P A Mohammed Riyas of the Public Works Department said he was seeking a report from the National Highway Authority of India on how this could have happened.
But for all their posturing and talk of taking strong action, the public response was to find those responsible at the top.
‘The real culprits are not the tree cutters. Those who ordered the cutting of trees without giving any instructions on how to handle if bird nests are to be blamed,’ wrote one Facebook user.
‘And in such situations, the Forest Department is also responsible for not informing what is the procedure to cut trees.’
Another sombre poster wrote: ‘He did what he was told to do.
‘These foresters need to know that a lot of trees will have to be cut down as part of that work.
‘If they are the protectors of nature, they are pretending not to see these things.’