Delhi: Animals rush for shade, buffaloes take plunge inside Yamuna as temperature soars in City

- June 29, 2024
| By : Kushan Niyogi |

From cows to buffaloes to dogs all have taken a pledge to beat the heat by any means possible.

The animal kingdom has started to feel the brunt of the heat wave, which continues unabated in Delhi, raising concerns about the depleting green cover.

Even though temperatures have reduced with the maximum restricted at around 40°C, the scenario remains worrying as animals head for the closest water body, be it a pool or a lake, or a solitary stretch of Yamuna.

Wildlife SOS, an NGO concerned with the protection and welfare of animals, rescued over 250 birds from April to June.

During the time, the birds had developed heat wave symptoms of laboured breathing, drooling, lying down, and hyperthermia.

“By June, the organisation had already rescued over 50 birds, including species such as Asian koel, green pigeon, black kite, red-naped ibis, mynas, barn owl, peacocks, shikra, parakeets, and common nightingale. Our veterinary team provided essential treatment, including oral rehydration solutions with water mixed with glucose and electrolytes, and ensured that the animals were kept in cool environments to help them stabilise,” said Aisha Siddiqui, spokesperson of the NGO.

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Apart from birds, the NGO has also rescued multiple mammals and reptiles — 80 mammals, 40 reptiles and 60 snakes — from April to June.

The NGO further reported that they were receiving around 40 phone calls daily on their animal rescue helpline, which are mostly for the protection of birds.

The situation has worsened since the previous year with prolonged heat conditions and a devastating heat wave.

“The intensity and duration of the heat waves have increased, leading to more severe impacts on wildlife. The frequency of rescue calls has surged, with Wildlife SOS receiving around 40 rescue calls daily in the past three weeks, indicating a significant rise in distress among animals,” said the spokesperson.

According to the NGO, black kites are the most susceptible.

“Black kites are especially vulnerable due to their high metabolism and high altitude flying, which expose them to prolonged periods of heat. This makes them more susceptible to the effects of extreme temperatures. Black kites, being raptors that rely on soaring and hunting during the day, are directly impacted by the harsh sunlight and high temperatures,” said Aisha.

Experts have said that prolonged exposure to high temperatures can lead to dehydration, as animals struggle to find adequate water, impairing their bodily functions and potentially leading to severe health problems or death. Heat stroke in animals and birds can cause organ failure and be fatal if not treated promptly.

According to a Delhi-based NGO, the Centre for Holistic Development, 192 homeless people have died in the national capital due to the heat wave.

On the other hand, a total of 25 deaths have been recorded in the last 24 hours in three hospitals including Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, Lok Nayak Hospital and Safdarjung Hospital.

In the same time-frame, 33 patients suffering from heat-related illnesses were admitted to Safdarjung Hospital, while RML received 26 patients, according to officials from both hospitals.

Most of the patients admitted were between the age group of 30 and 50.

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According to Delhi Fire Services, there has been a continuous rise in the number of emergency calls at 11,091 during April to June 16.

Yet, animals have no respite from the heat wave. Most have to look for shade closest to them. Oxes and bullocks race to the nearest stretch of the Yamuna to rest their bodies in, hiding from the severe heat waves across the belt.

According to India Meteorological Department, the national capital was witness to the highest minimum temperature in 12 years at 35.2°C, which was slated at eight notches above normal, on Tuesday.