Activists working for animal and bird rescue in urban areas are a worried lot seeing the increasing use of glue trap boards for catching rats and other creatures, in spite of the sale of these boards being banned by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI).
On Saturday, the most recent case, a common Kingfisher stuck to one such glue trap board was rescued in Powai. “The bird would have surely died a slow and painful death had it not been for a group of children playing in Durga Nivas society inside IIT; they saw the Kingfisher in distress alerted their parents who called our helpline. We then sent our rescue team which took the bird to Thane SPCA, where it is being treated,” said Pawan Sharma, president of NGO Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare (RAWW) that rescues animals and birds in distress.
He added that the bird’s legs, abdomen and left wing were stuck on the board and when it tried to free itself using its beak, it got stuck further.
Another RAWW member said the glue is extremely difficult to remove and has to be done slowly, taking care to be extremely cautious, to ensure minimum trauma to the creature. “We are sure the bird will be ready to fly soon. It’s under observation and will be released after the vets declare it fit,” the member said.
The group, like many other NGOs working on rescue, has already begun to advocate against using the glue trap for rodents.
Founder of PAWS Sunish Subramanian said that a couple of days ago their helpline had received information about two squirrels stuck on these boards in Powai. Recently, he added, they also rescued a stuck sparrow.
“We have even written letters to the AWBI that despite being banned these glue traps are easily available in the market and being used by several corporate offices, shopping centres, grocery owners and even by citizens in their homes,” said Subramanian, informing that in several homes people keep a trap outside windows that leads to birds getting trapped.
He added that at times there are rats stuck on such boards and there have also been cases where scavenging birds preying on the trapped rodents have ended up being stuck.
“There is also a risk of snakes and reptiles getting stuck on it. Hence, we have been urging people not to use these glue traps,” he said.
The circular issued by major general RM Kharb, AWBI chairman, in 2011 mentioned that several cases suggested that use of such traps causes unnecessary pain and suffering to rodents and is against the spirit of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960. The circular also stated that pest control was important but that there were more humane methods available to control the population of rats.
AWBI on glue traps
The circular mentioned that glue traps, also known as glue boards or sticky traps, are a type of non-lethal or restraining rodent traps that are used mostly to trap rats and mice, which get caught by their feet or fur. They are then thrown away without removed from the trap, which leads to a prolonged period of terror, pain and distress for them before death. Their desperate efforts to escape result in their skin tearing or legs breaking, while some even try to bite through their limbs in an attempt to get away. Other animals and birds can also end up in these traps and suffer a similar fate.