NEW ZEALAND: Dozens of birds in Wellington were found dead or injured with Christmas decorations tied around their necks and wings, reported New Zealand media on Wednesday (Jan 9).
A full investigation has been launched after sparrows and pigeons were found with decorative trinkets tied to them, said the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).
It believes that these were deliberate acts because the trinkets were "tight and very carefully planned", reported the New Zealand Herald.
On Tuesday, SPCA inspectors rescued decorated pigeons from a property after a tip-off.
The property is now the focus of a full investigation, SPCA’s regional manager for the central region Ros Alsford was quoted as saying by the New Zealand Herald.
Earlier, sparrows had been found with tinsel and trinkets tied around them.
The New Zealand Herald also reported that the rescued pigeons appeared to have the same tinsel and trinkets found on the sparrows, with some designs on the pigeons being even "more elaborate".
Some birds were painted the same colour as the trinkets.
"One pigeon had quite bright red Christmas tinsel wrapped around its wings and then the top of its head had been painted with red paint as well as its wings had been tipped with red paint," Alsford added.
"It's not just a random person wrapping these trinkets around these birds because the trinkets are very tight and very carefully planned."
SPCA added that some of the birds had died of starvation as they were not able to fly and look for food.
"Many try to pry the foreign objects off their bodies with their beaks and feet, becoming further entangled and preventing them from eating, drinking and flying.
With others, the decorations are wrapped so tightly it completely cuts off their blood circulation," said SPCA spokesperson Paige Janssen to the BBC.
She added that some of the birds that had been handed to the SPCA were so malnourished and distressed that they had to be humanely euthanised.
There have been several reported cases of decorated birds in the area since 2015. The number of cases spiked over the Christmas and New Year period, with around 30 calls related to the sightings of these birds, Janssen was quoted as saying by the BBC.