Kites kill 97 birds, hurt over 1,500 in Ahmedabad, capital

At least 412 more birds were downed by glass-laced or plastic kite strings (manja) across Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar Wednesday, two days after the annual Uttarayan festival ended. This indicates that strings left over on trees and electric and telephone poles and wires continue to pose problems for the avian population.

The total avian injuries and deaths combined in the two cities by Wednesday evening stood at 1,609. As many as 97 of these birds succumbed to injuries, said Chief Conservator of Forests Jagdish Prasad, who keeps a record of bird injuries and deaths during the festival through a network of forest staff and 17 NGOs.

Jivdaya Charitable Trust in Ahmedabad is treating the largest share of these injured birds — 754. These include four critically endangered White Rumped Vultures and a pair each of demoiselle cranes and common cranes.

Animal lovers brave all sorts of situations to rescue injured birds. In Gandhinagar, for example, six volunteers from Vanshree and the state-run GEER Foundation swam across a pond filled with sewage from nearby villages to cut down two Egrets that were hanging upside down from a Babul tree growing in a small island, their legs tied by kite-strings.

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