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Zoo help to curb bird-hits

Bhubaneswar, Nov. 18: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has roped in experts from Nandankanan zoo to conduct a survey on the birds in and around Biju Patnaik Airport for monitoring the species involved in the most number of bird-hit cases.

The zoo officials will also help AAI in devising methods to trap jackals on the runway.

A senior zoo official visited the airport yesterday in this regard.

The survey on the bird species will be over within a month. The airport has reported 22 bird-hit cases so far this year.

“Though it is generally thought that carnivore birds are involved in bird-hit cases, pigeons, spotted dove, white-rumped vulture, pariah kite, crow, jungle crow and house crow could also be possible threats for a flight near the runway. However, crows are extremely alert and they are almost never involved in such cases. The zoo authorities will provide us their expert advice to help us know the nature of the bird species around the airport,” airport director Sharad Kumar told The Telegraph.

Assistant director, Nandankanan Zoo, Kamal Lochan Purohit, who conducted a ground survey yesterday, said: “We are going to zero in on five or six species, which could cause the maximum damage to an airplane.”

Talking about the other problems, Purohit said: “We have requested the AAI officials to cut the tall grass immediately so that the holes inside the airport area, used by jackals, can be easily detected. The drainage outlets and inlets should also be fitted with wire mesh to prevent the animals from entering the area. If jackals are sighted even after taking these measures, then they could be trapped using special techniques by the zoo experts.”

Officer on special duty, Biju Patnaik Airport, H.J. Parmar said: “The AAI authorities have already taken up a bird control management plan to assess the bird-strike risk and define and implement the appropriate bird control measures to reduce and mitigate the risk factors.”

Under the plan, the type of bird-hit, time, weather conditions and season are being recorded. Help of other agencies of the state government is also being taken for better coordination and control.

“We are also planning a public awareness campaign so that people could be sensitised against throwing discarded food around the airport,” he said, adding that farming activities near the airport, ponds and nesting grounds created by big trees also add to the problem.

“We want to clean up the possible bird sighting grounds near the flight approach way because most bird hits are reported while landing of the aircraft,” said the airport director.