Hundreds of Chicks, Birds Killed as Video Shows Tree Housing Nests Being Cut Down to Widen Highway in India, Sparks Outrage

A horrific video showing a tree being cut down, leaving hundreds of Indian Cormorant chicks homeless and several others dead has sparked outrage on social media.

According to the video, a large number of birds were killed due to the reckless cutting of a tree for widening of the National Highway in Randathani area of Kerala's Malappuram district.

indian cormorants killed
Stills from the heartbreaking video that has gone viral on social media. Twitter

The heartbreaking video, which has since garnered over 1.8 million views, shows the huge tree being brought down with the help of an excavator. As the tree comes crashing down, numerous birds that called the tree home were seen being slammed to the ground, many of them newborn chicks. A large number of nests and eggs were also destroyed in the mindless act.

Outrage Among Locals

Indian Cormorant
Indian Cormorant Wikimedia Commons

Though the Kerala Forest Department said that around 50 chicks have been killed, photos and videos posted online suggest that the number could be much higher.

"The Forest department officials owe us an answer on how this happened. The breeding season of these birds takes place between June and November and it is rather unfortunate that at the peak of the breeding season, this happened," the angry locals said.

Driver of Excavator Arrested, Investigation Ordered

The Indian Cormorant is a protected species that falls under Schedule 4 of Indian Wildlife Protection Act. Following the outrage over the incident, Kerala Forest Department has initiated legal action against the contractor under the Wildlife Protection Act. The area's forest range officer has also taken the excavator and its driver into custody.

According to the Forest Department, the contractor was specifically directed that the tree should be felled only after the birds' nesting season. Taking note of the incident, Kerala Public Works Minister PA Mohammed Riyas has also sought an explanation from the National Highway Authority of India officials.