Hyderabad: The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has banned pigeon feeding in public parks in Greater Hyderabad, and has sent notices to urban biodiversity heads to put up information boards to this effect.
This follows repeated complaints from morning walkers at Indira Park that pigeons are multiplying rapidly and restricting the entry of other birds in green spaces in the city.
Pigeons are also a health hazard. Their skin, when rubbed, disperses dust, which is an allergen for humans and causes breathing problems if inhaled frequently; same is the case with their faeces.
Urban feeding consists of seeds that have a higher nutrition and calorie content than what birds eat in the wild. That increases the number of birds in a litter, say experts. This contention has been opposed by members of an animal rights body, Prani Mitra, that holds that pigeon feeding is considered a blessing and the ban is not justified.
V Damodhar, director of Urban Biodiversity cell of the GHMC, says that the corporation strictly prohibits open feeding of pigeons by walkers or visitors in public parks and boards will soon be put up in all parks informing the public of this.
He said walkers have complained that the pigeons are restricting entry of other birds, especially in the 69-acre Indira Park. At the same time, he said that “the department has no count of the pigeon population in the city.”
With regard to the health problems caused by pigeons, pulmonologist Dr N. Raghu Reddy, said, “When a pigeon rubs itself, it leaves minute skin dust and these micro organisms include ectoparasites. They get dispersed in the air. This, when inhaled, turns an allergen. The foreign substance settles in the nostrils and lungs. If inhaled persistently, it can cause chronic breathing problems. Also, the faeces cause pulmonary infection. Fungus can breed in the faeces and when inhaled this too is an allergen.”
Not everyone agrees that stopping the feeding is the right thing to do. “Starving pigeons is equal to killing them. In fact, according to Hindu belief, it is considered auspicious and a blessing if one feeds them,” said Rama Krishna of Prani Mithra.
Muslims and masjid managements in the city breed pigeons also on religious grounds, they claim.
Prof Vasudeva Rao of the Agriculture University’s invertebrates pest control wing said pigeons are not pests that need to be eradicated or reduced."The ban is not justified," he said.