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Kite string grounds 50 birds in city Kite string grounds 50 birds in city

Jan-16-2015 | 0 Comments


PUNE: Kite-flying during the two days of Makar Sankranti is a colourful treat to look at, but kite string has hurt unsuspecting birds. Across the city, this year, around 45-50 birds were reported injured in the two days of the celebration.

"The helpline we set up received around 50 calls for birds that were found injured or entangled in manja or kite string on Thursday," said Manoj Oswal, an official from the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI). "Pigeons, crows and black kites, a crane and an owl were rescued. The owl and crane were taken to the zoo in Katraj as the wildlife act mandates it," he added.

Deepak Sawant, curator at the Animal Rescue Centre at the zoo, said some birds with injuries from kite string were reported as of Thursday evening, but many cases come post-festival. "Kite string hanging over trees and electricity wires after people wind up the day's kite flying is the culprit. Most birds get caught in them as they are unable to see them," said Sawant.

"Some cases of badly injured birds keep coming till at least two weeks after Sankranti. Last year, in the entire season there were around 300 birds that were brought here and were treated for injuries from kite strings," he said.

The worst is the nylon or the Chinese manja, which is tough to break or cut out and has to be burned, said Sawant. While activists such as the AWBI, People For Animals (PFA) and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) have been rallying against its use, as reported by TOI earlier, the sale and usage continues in the city. Sawant said kite-flyers should be sensitive towards birds and remove the hanging threads.

This year, volunteers have observed fewer casualties or injuries as compared to the previous year. Mobile clinics and volunteers on bikes deployed by PFA also helped in timely treatment of the birds this year. "Usually, every year there are four to five mortalities, but this year, there have been none so far," said Oswal.

"I have treated 10 birds since Thursday morning - some injured gravely from kite strings. There were parrots, pigeons and even owls. Like every year, I will be on my feet saving birds for the next two weeks at least," observed bird activist Anil Avchite.

People can help hurt birds recover. "Put a soft cloth around the bird so that it does not see it is being handled by a human, shift it gently to a cardboard box with holes and with a newspaper placed at the bottom so that the bird's body remains dry. Birds are very delicate and go into trauma immediately," said Nilesh Bhanage, founder of Plants and Animal Welfare Society.

The other precaution is to avoid force-feeding the bird with food or water. One should keep a bowl inside the box and hand it over to a trained bird activist or a veterinarian.

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