Hundreds of dead birds were found lying on New Year's Eve around the Termini train station in Via Cavour in Rome. According to the animal rights groups, it was a "massacre" that happened after many people set off fireworks in the Italian capital.
Videos of the incident showed hundreds of birds scattered lifeless on the road near Rome's main train station. Initially, the reason for the mass death was not clear but later the International Organization for the Protection of Animals (OIPA) said that it appeared related to a particular loud display of fireworks in the neighborhood which used to be the home of many birds.
Loredana Diglio, a spokeswoman for the body, said, "It can be that they died from fear. They can fly up together and knock against each other, or hit windows or electric power lines. Let's not forget they can also die of heart attacks."
According to reports the incident happened after a ban was imposed on fireworks to protect people, animals, and heritage sites that was widely ignored.
In one of those videos, a person who captured the incident was heard saying, "This is the disgusting side of human nature. The fireworks. Hundreds of dead birds. Unbelievable. Look at how many there are."
According to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), there is little evidence to suggest that fireworks harm birds or affect their conservation status. The effect is likely similar to that of a thunderstorm.
However, according to the website of RSPB, setting off fireworks close to the nesting place of birds can cause a disturbance. To minimize any kind of adverse impact of fireworks on birds, the organization advised organizers of firework to avoid launching the rockets near sensitive wildlife areas, such as nature reserves besides nesting and roosting sites for wild birds.
While some social media users, who came across the viral videos and images of the tragic incident, left speechless and shocked, some users questioned the legitimacy of the photos. However, OIPA International clarified that "this is not, unfortunately, a bad photoshop as the death of any animal is not something you can make a joke of. Yes, this happens every year in many other countries and cities of the world, that's why we all must raise awareness."