Housing ministry feeding pigeons in three areas

The housing ministry has said its staff have been feeding pigeons at three designated locations in Malé after a ban on feeding pigeons at the republic square sparked public outrage.

The ministry posted pictures on its Facebook page today of staff feeding pigeons at the artificial beach, the tsunami monument area, and a park near the southwestern harbour.

Executive coordinator Abdulla Shahid told the state broadcaster that the ministry imposed as a temporary measure while renovation work, including repairing a water fountain and replanting grass, was ongoing at the square.

The government is renovating public spaces in the capital in preparation for the upcoming golden jubilee of independence on July 26.

The ban drew strong criticism on social media after numerous pigeons died of apparent starvation. Hundreds of children and adults gather at the square in late afternoons to feed raw rice to the pigeons.


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.