From a constructing going through Havana’s iconic Malecon waterfront, pigeon keepers crane out of a window, intently watching the gray birds take flight.
Principally staying indoors due to the nation’s worst outbreak of COVID-19 for the reason that coronavirus pandemic started in March final yr, Cubans are more and more breeding pigeons as a type of escape.
“You’ll be able to’t go away the home”, mentioned Pedro Marrero, president of the Seductive Pigeon Promotion Membership, a gaggle of people that love the birds and rear them as a interest.
“We’re locked inside. The whole lot is restricted and we’ve one place to escape, which is the roof. We go up to the roof, we’ve our animals and we’ve a very good time there,” he mentioned.
Marrero, 53, says it relaxes him to catch and prepare pigeons on his Havana rooftop, the place he will get to disconnect from the stresses of the pandemic and benefit from the sleek flight of his birds.
The newly handed Animal Welfare Regulation states there are not any limits to breeding the birds “as lengthy as the hygienic, sanitary and welfare necessities that the species requires are met”, in accordance to the Cuban Ministry of Agriculture.
Pigeons are additionally bought on the market and utilized in Santeria ceremonies. The monks of the ritual-filled, Afro-Cuban faith say pigeons are in excessive demand by their shoppers.
Regardless of well being and security restrictions, Cuba has seen an increase in COVID-19 instances as the federal government opened its borders. Up to now in Might, 29,006 folks had been reported to have COVID-19 with a day by day common of 1,160 being admitted to hospital and 258 deaths, up from 229 deaths in April, in accordance to official figures.
Up on the roofs, pigeon breeders get a thrill from watching the animals vie within the air to seize prey.
“To see your pigeon compete towards different neighbourhood pigeons, so it could convey the prey to your home … that’s the best expertise a pigeon keeper can have,” mentioned Leonisbel Santana, 35.
But others merely have an affinity with the cooing birds.
“I really feel love for them,” mentioned Yosbany de La Rosa, additionally 35.