Airplane hits flamingo flock, at least 36 birds killed

By AFP   May 21, 2024 | 01:08 am PT
A passenger airplane arriving in India's financial capital Mumbai flew through a flock of flamingos, killing at least 36 but landing safely, wildlife experts and media reports said Tuesday.

At least 36 of the large migratory birds were killed, the Hindustan Times daily reported, but wildlife experts said that they feared many more might be dead.

Pawan Sharma, from the Mumbai-based Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare (RAWW), said the animal charity received multiple calls on Monday evening as the carcasses of the pink birds fell from the sky.

Mumbai airport recorded over 600 cases of aircraft bird strikes from January 2018 till October 2023, according to government statistics.

But Sharma said that it was unusual for so many flamingos to have been killed in a single event.

"This is the first time such a large number of flamingos have been hit," Sharma told AFP.

He said he feared many more could have died as some of the bird carcasses were "not in a shape to be recovered."

"The locality was littered with bird carcass," said B.N. Kumar, from environmental group NatConnect Foundation, according to the Times of India.

"Broken pieces of wings, beaks, claws were scattered over a large area."

The wetlands along Mumbai's coast are famous for large number of flamingos who arrive around December for a few months.

"Both resident and migratory birds are at threat from flights passing through such crucial habitats," Sharma added.

"Therefore it is important to evaluate this incident and work on mitigation measures, so that such unfortunate incidents can be avoided."

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