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What's killing birds and cats in our parks?

DUBAI Scores of birds and cats have died from suspected poisoning across various parks in Dubai, XPRESS has learnt.

Nina White, who teaches Brazilian martial art Capoeira at Safa Park, said she has found anywhere between 40-50 dead birds everyday over the past fortnight.

"It's a horrifying sight. There are mynahs, crows, pigeons, hud huds either lying dead on the grass or in their final death throes. At least three cats, all neutered, have also died from suspected poisoning while many others have fallen sick. I have taken six of them to the vet and have sheltered three others in my house, but there are still a few left near the nursery area. I hope I can rescue them as well before something happens," she said.

At Umm Suqqeim park the scenes are no less disturbing.

"It's almost like raining dead birds here. They are falling out from the skies and trees. The other day I saw a worker scoop away a bagful of dead mynahs and crows," said a British woman visiting the park. Similar incidents have been reported from Al Barsha Park as well.

Park-goers reckon the unusually high number of deaths could be a result of a massive culling operation but Hisham Abdul Rahman Al-Yahya, Head of Pest Control Section at Dubai Municipality denied the insinuation.

"We don't have anything to do with it. Somebody might have used poison but it's definitely not us. In any case we have not received any complaint in this regard," he told XPRESS. Another official at the pest control department said they don't have any bird control programme. Killing birds is illegal, we do not do it," he said, adding that they are not aware of any incident.

But White who has lodged a formal complaint with the Municipality is not amused. "How can they say they have not heard about any deaths when they have registered my complaint and even issued me a complaint number.

Cruel and ineffective bird poison can be dangerous to humans.

Ask abaya designer and animal rights activist Samira Behari who tried to rescue a dying bird at Safa Park on Monday. " I used my bare hands to pick the bird. It was a mistake, because soon after I fell terribly ill. I got diarrhea and felt nauseous all day," said the Iranian-Australian woman.

White said the death of birds have scared away her students, most of whom are between four and five years old. "Now nobody wants to send their kids here," she said.

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Publication:XPRESS (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Sep 26, 2013
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