Diwali is a particularly difficult time for animals in urban areas in India. The sound of firecrackers going off agitates them, making them cower in fear behind any protective surface they can find.
But in eight villages surrounding the Vellore Bird Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu, thoughtful residents have not burst crackers for the past 17 years so as to not scare away the migratory birds.
Around 750 families live in villages around the sanctuary, which is 15 km from Erode. The sanctuary was established in 1996 on 80 hectares of land and, every year, from around September-December, it sees a huge influx of migratory birds mainly from Australia and New Zealand. During their stay, they build their nests, lay eggs and leave two or three months later with their young ones in tow.
Fearing that the loud sounds and toxic fumes produced by crackers will disturb the birds and scare them away from the sanctuary forever, these concerned citizens prefer to have a silent Diwali.
According to PTI reports, a 73-year-old villager, Chinnasamy Gounder, said the residents used to burst crackers before the sanctuary was built. “Till two years back, even sparklers were not used in the village. But now some children are using them. However, crackers are still not used,” he added.