The endangered black necked stork, whose life was at risk because of a rubber stopper stuck around its beak, was rescued at 10 am today from Najafgarh Wetland by teams of Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and the forest department.
The bird has now been taken to Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary, where it has been kept in a make-shift cage. It has been fed fish and given water, and is slowly recovering its strength.
The stork was found to be a sub-adult, about two years old, and has been ringed, with K16 written on it.
Efforts were on to capture it for almost a week. The bird was unable to eat or drink because of the ring stuck round its beak.
Bird photographer Manoj Nair (who is the admin for Facebook group Delhi Bird Photographers) had captured the hapless bird on lens last Thursday, and the same was posted by senior birder Pankaj Gupta on his Facebook page.
City Spidey managed to speak to Gupta, who followed the bird to Sultanpur. He said, "One thing was clear that the time for rescue was running out and the stork was getting weaker, as it was no longer able to take long flights. The threat from stray dogs could no longer be ignored. Today, the rescuers had to do something different from what they were already doing. As a last resort, it was decided to flush out the bird and grab it where it lands. Multiple teams were made and they were positioned at key locations."
He continued, "The lower part of the stork's bill was found to be full of mud, as the bird couldn’t open its bill because of the rubber stopper. But it's doing fine now and might be released by evening or tomorrow morning.”
Nair, who had photographed the bird, added, “I am very happy to know that the stork has been successfully captured, and a special thanks to all involved in this rescue operation."
A birder from Dwarka, V Selvarajan, congratulated the teams involved in the rescue operation, and appealed to the government to provide protection to the flora and fauna of Najafgarh wetland.
Though the birder community is extremely happy at the development, they want government agencies to be better equipped for such operations in future.
Speaking on the matter, Gupta said, “True, the bird has been rescued, but a lot remains to be done. The administration and the concerned agencies must be equipped and well organised, so such operations can be handled more effectively in future.”