Increase in birds injured by banned kite strings

A file photo of a crow stuck in a thread used for flying kites, at Cubbon Park.   | Photo Credit: Bhagya Prakash K

An increasing number of citizens are taking to kite flying, especially over the last few weeks after restrictions were eased, and this is reflected in the number of bird rescue calls that animal and avian welfare organisations are receiving.

BBMP wardens rescued around 150 birds in September.

According to Avian and Reptile Rehabilitation Centre (ARRC) in Horamavu, there has been a significant increase in the number of rescue of birds entangled in manja and other strings made of nylon, plastic or synthetic threads since May. While the team rescued 45 birds in May this year, the number went up to 73 in June, 102 in July, 247 in August and 232 in September.

As many as 65 birds were rescued in January by ARRC followed by 46 in February and 27 each in March and April.

Jayanthi Kallam, executive director, ARRC, said that these days they are receiving seven to eight calls a day. “It is very unusual for this time of the year. We had a total of 354 manja rescues in 2019. This year, with three months to spare, we have had around 900 cases,” she said.

She added that the figures only represented rescue cases involving the Centre. “The number of birds injured due to people flying kites is definitely higher as there are many other organisations that are involved in such rescues. And there’s the fact that many cases go unreported,” she said.

Ban has not been effective

Activists and experts say that the ban has been ineffective as manja and other strings made of nylon and plastic are still available in the city. A senior official from the Forest Department of the BBMP acknowledged that the rescue calls they were getting were “unusually high” and that they would take action.

Rajesh Kumar, chief wildlife warden, urged people flying kites to use cotton thread and report the sale of manja and banned material to the authorities. “The government should take strict action against the production, transportation, storage and distribution of such banned strings. Only then can the problem be solved,” he said.

Arun Prasad, an animal rights activist, called for a more effective and sustained implementation of the ban on the manufacture and sale of manja and nylon threads. “They are non-biodegradable. There is a need to create awareness. Those who are aware of the ban do not know how to identify the banned strings,” he said.

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Printable version | May 17, 2021 8:05:22 AM |

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