Malappuram: Days after many birds were killed due to cutting of trees for road developmental work of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) in Kerala, the social forestry wing of the Forest Department started a survey to mark the trees on the highways that have nests of birds.
The action follows after a video of the tree-felling went viral. The axing happened on August 31 at VK Padi near Thirurangadi along the highway in Malappuram district, chief conservator of forests (Palakkad) K Vijayanand told PTI.
"So far, three people have been arrested in this connection and remanded in judicial custody for 14 days," Vijayanand said.
The forest officials have seized the excavator and the power-saw used to fell the trees.
"Social Forestry wing started identifying and marking the trees on the highways that require to be retained considering nesting and roosting of birds," he said.
The Forest Department has found the carcass of 23 birds and their offspring from the location.
"Some of the birds were yet to develop wings. Some were injured. So, the live birds were shifted to a veterinary centre for treatment," the senior forest official said.
The Forest Department has called for a meeting with the NHAI officials on September 5 to discuss the issue. The Forest Department said they did not give any permission for the felling.
A similar incident happened in the first week of last month at Randathani in the district but the forest official said there was not so much damage like this.
As the video went viral in the social media, State PWD Minister P A Mohammed Riyas sought a report from the NHAI.
A complaint against the NHAI for cutting down of trees during the first week of August was sent to Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nithin Gadkari by Thomas Lawrence, CEO of Save Wetlands International Movement, seeking action against the tree-felling and the resultant death of birds.
"Many birds and their young ones were displaced...it is really heartbreaking. This time of the year, birds breed and the authorities could have waited for a few more weeks till the fledglings were able to fly off," Lawrence had said.
A wildlife photographer and nature enthusiast Praveen Muraleedharan had said proper rehabilitation of the displaced birds should have been done before engaging in such developmental activities.