This Uttarayan, birds have been much safer in the skies compared to previous years.
Forest officials said that the number of bird injuries has come down by more than half this Uttarayan. The forest department rescues and treats animals and birds injured due to kite strings every year.
“Last year, we had received 1,366 birds injured due to kite strings between January 10 and January 20. This year, we have received 533 injured birds from January 10 to January 15. There may be some increase in the number of injured birds we receive over next few days but it won’t be more than 650,” said Nidhi Dave, regional forest office (RFO), Vadodara.
“The number of rescue calls has reduced by more than half this year and it is a good sign of things to come. I think the awareness programmes we have been organizing for the last few years are finally paying off. People have realized the hazards of using sharp and Chinese kite strings and hence many of them have started using it less,” Dave told TOI.
The forest department has been organizing awareness programmes and appealing citizens to not use Chinese kite strings and flying kites only in a certain time period. “While the awareness programmes have helped a lot, even the news and videos of human deaths and injuries due to kite strings is discouraging people from using sharp strings,” Dave added.
Another reason is the reach of the forest department to every area of the city through its volunteers. Hundreds of youngsters from the city, who earlier celebrated Uttarayan, have now taken to bird rescue during the festival. Till last year, the forest department had about 250 volunteers but this Uttarayan, the number of volunteers has doubled and crossed 500. “Now, we are able to respond quickly and rescue as many birds as possible due to so many volunteers who reach the spot within minutes,” Dave said.
Several individuals and NGOs co-ordinate with the forest department to rescue injured birds and animals during Uttarayan every year.
The number of injuries to scheduled birds too has come down during Uttarayan this year. The forest department has treated only five owls including a rare scops owl and peacocks for kite string injuries this time. “Most of the injured birds are pigeons and kites,” the forest officials said.