Ban on pigeon feeding sparks public outrage

A ban on feeding pigeons at the Republic Square has sparked public outrage after numerous birds died of apparent starvation.

Several people have expressed strong disapproval on social media of the housing ministry’s decision to impose the ban last Wednesday (April 15).

“Stop brutality against pigeons, Feed the pigeons,” tweeted one Maldivian.

Hundreds of children and adults gather at the square every afternoon to feed raw rice to the pigeons.

However, entry to the square has now been restricted by a fence and the housing ministry has erected boards prohibiting pigeon feeding.

The housing ministry says feeding the pigeons causes damage to the grass, newly planted for an upcoming celebrations to mark the golden jubilee of independence.

Nearby buildings also appeared dirty due to pigeon droppings, the ministry said.

Local media reported yesterday that several starved pigeons pecked at tourists and passers-by.

According to newspaper Haveeru, the pigeons are dependant on humans for food and some are now too weak to fly.

Hundreds of pigeons stood on the fence while several more were crushed by vehicles while trying to cross the road.

“Arrest me for feeding the pigeons,” tweeted former environment minister Mohamed Aslam.

Former footballer Ismail Zariyand also tweeted a picture of him feeding the pigeons in defiance of the ban.

The square now remains empty except for a few starved and dead pigeons lying in the park’s corners.

The ministry will provide “alternative/more ideal locations” for pigeon feeding, tweeted housing minister Dr Mohamed Muizzu on Thursday.

However, the ministry is yet to announce the new location.

The ban comes amid renovations of public spaces in the capital in preparation of the 50th anniversary celebrations, including repairing the water fountain at the square.


MMA announces shortlisted proposals for new rufiyya note designs

The Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) has announced the shortlisted candidates in a competition to design the new Maldivian currency notes.

Proposal for the new notes to be released on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of Maldivian independence were evaluated by an advisory committee of 13 members comprising of representatives from various technical fields including history, art, language, and economics.

The shortlisted candidates will present their proposal to the advisory committee on January 17, with the three best presentations given the opportunity to design the six notes to go into general circulation and the memorial note for 50 years of independence.

The MMA board of directors will make the final decision on which designs will be printed after considering the evaluation of the advisory committee.

After initially inviting designs for notes in September, the MMA extended the November 30 deadline for one month after concluding that the 60 submitted designs were all unsuitable for bank notes.