Stork with beak shut by ‘plastic ring’ rescued in India

Indian wildlife activists have rescued a stork, which was starving for nearly a week with a ‘plastic ring’ stuck around its beak.

Manoj Nair, a bird watcher, had snapped the male black-necked stork on June 7 at Basai, a noted wetland in Gurgaon.

The photo shared by Chintan, an environmental group, had gone viral drawing international attention to the plight of the stork whose beak had been sealed by a plastic ring.

Haryana officials and wildlife activists from various organisations mounted a frantic rescue effort the very next day.

Though they made multiple attempts over several days the bird managed to elude them.

Two rescuers Rakesh Ahlawat and Sonu Dalal of Nature Conservation Foundation spotted the bird on June 3 and ran behind it for nearly 100 metres.

“We managed to catch it as the bird had become weak without food,” said Ahlawat. “The ring easily slid off the exhausted stork's beak,” he added.

The plastic ring, which had threatened to kill the bird, turned out to be a rubber stopper with holes.

Activists said the rubber stopper had probably come from a bottle and would have slipped around the stork's beak when it was hunting in the water.

The stork recovered remarkably and is being fed with small fish at a local bird sanctuary.

It is being kept under observation and is expected to be released into the wild soon.

Black-necked stork is classified as "near-threatened" and is native to some parts of India.

Activists said the incident, yet again, highlights the menace posed by plastic.