Loud sounds can be life-threatening to birds and animals: Experts

Even as indignant animal lovers across the city are lamenting the death of a Cuban crocodile near the Madras Crocodile Bank, wildlife experts said that it is not just the crocodiles but other animals like Olive Ridley turtles, snakes, elephants and all birds undergo great suffering due to man-made sounds. For some of them, the very high volume sound can even be life-threatening, said experts.
Loud sounds can be life-threatening to birds and animals: Experts

Chennai

“It is a basic logic that the bodies of snakes and animals like turtles are fully spread on the ground. The vibrations created by very loud sounds become unbearable to them. Their entire body are affected by these vibrations,” said M Rajarathinam, director of the Snake Park.

Pointing out that Olive Ridley turtles have been nesting on the coasts of Chennai between January to May for hundreds of years, Shravan Krishnan, an animal rights activist and the founder of Hotel for Dogs in Akkarai, Chennai, said the conservation efforts that are being undertaken for over 30 years could be undone if the noisy pubs, restaurants and resorts lining the coasts are not curbed at once.

As per the Coastal Regulation Act, resorts and pubs cannot be located 200 metres from the sea, as the coastal areas are eco-sensitive zones. But many violate these rules to mint money, charged Shravan.

The very loud sound affects all birds, including owls, parrots, robins, etc. Some songbirds like robins and parrots have in fact changed their behavioural patterns as per the noise levels in cities, said P Jagannathan, founder, Bird Count India. “Earlier, birds used to sing in the day because it used to be silent. Now, they sing in the night because only then it is silent in the city. Such behavioural shifts offers an important warning,” he said. Even owls are deeply disturbed when we make sounds in the night, explained Jagannathan.

According to Dawn Williams, the general manager of Blue Cross India, all animals are sensitive to sound and are disturbed by it. Dogs and cows on streets, in spite of being disturbed by sounds, have learned to survive the high volumes and vibrations. Ensuring to keep volumes low, especially after 10 pm, is a critical habit that every person should practice, added these experts.

Sudha Ramen, Deputy Director, Vandalur Zoo, said, “We have posters and boards warning guests to keep their voice low in the zoo. Residents in and around the area are sensitive, and ensure they refrain making loud noises. Even during Deepavali, they don’t celebrate with crackers so the animals do not get frightened. This is the case in both Vedanthangal and Koonthankullam bird sanctuaries as well. Awareness is important to sensitise people about the discomfort it causes to animals.”

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