Treatment Camp For Injured Birds During Makar Sankranti

January 31, 2023 | By Avni Gupta
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In the month of January, Wildlife SOS collaborated with Eco Rescuers Foundation to host and fund a free Bird Treatment Camp in Malviya Nagar, Jaipur. The four-day camp was set up on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a festival where bird casualties are at their highest due to rampant kite-flying. Through the camp, we were able to successfully rescue and provide treatment to 150 birds including Rock pigeons, a Black kite, a Common swift, a Red-wattled Lapwing, and a Barn owl.

An injured Barn owl was rescued by the team during the Bird treatment camp. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS/Nikhil Bisht]

Manjha Menace

Each year, citizens all over the country celebrate Makar Sankranti with a lot of enthusiasm. People sing, dance, prepare fancy treats and feasts, organise fairs, and fly kites to bring in the spring season. While being an integral part of Indian culture, flying kites has also become a serious threat to the avian population.

The Kite flying festival, Makar Sankranti, leads to several incidences of bird injury. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS/Nikhil Bisht]

During the kite-flying season, kites flown are often cut off in the sky and they fall on trees, shrubs, or electrical lines. Birds that use these areas for perching are prone to getting entangled in the glass-coated string of the kite called manjha, from which they struggle to escape. The thread gets enmeshed in their wings, feathers, and claws, and if left unattended, they can succumb to the injuries. Birds are also at a high risk of sustaining injuries mid-flight. The powdered glass on the manjha can cut through the sides of the birds’ wings, often causing fractures and critical nerve injuries!

Sadly, this non-biodegradable, synthetic thread has remained an issue for several years and continues to threaten helpless birds. After the festival, the kite threads are discarded improperly, and birds often carry these strings to build their nests. In the process, the manjha tangles up with the birds or their chicks, who often succumb to serious wounds.

Glass-coated majha often gets stuck in bird wings, thus injurying them. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS/Nikhil Bisht]

Four-Day Treatment Camp 

Committed to conserving the biodiversity of India, Wildlife SOS joined hands with a Jaipur-based organisation, Eco Rescuers Foundation to help birds in distress through a free Bird Treatment Camp in the city. The bird treatment and awareness camp was set up in the prominent location of Shree Digamber Jain Mandir located in Malviya Nagar, Jaipur, from 12th to 15th January 2023.

The Bird treatment camp was set up in Malviya Nagar, Jaipur. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS/Nikhil Bisht]

Sponsored by Wildlife SOS, the camp was equipped with a state-of-the-art medical operation theatre, medical facilities, bird ambulances, and transport carriers for injured birds. It was inaugurated by Honourable Chief Guest, Shri Ravi Arora (Chairman, Rajasthan Small Industries Corp.) and special guests Smt. Puja Aggarwal (Vice President, Arya Group of Colleges), Shri C.L. Jain (President, Jain Mandir, Malviya Nagar) and Shri Govind Singh Chhipa (Parshad, Ward No.131, Nagar Nigam, Jaipur). In the subsequent days, Dr. Somya Gurjar (Mayor of Nagar Nigam, Greater Jaipur) and Shri UM Sahai (former CWLW – Rajasthan Forest Department) also paid a visit to the bird camp.  

The Bird treatment camp was inaugurated on 12 January 2023. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS/Nikhil Bisht]

Several veterinary officers and homoeopathic doctors offered their invaluable assistance at the operation theatre in order to provide treatment to the birds. Dr. Janki Patel, Dr. Swarupananda Sarkar, Dr. Amisha Khatri, Dr. Pavitra Gaur, and several veterinary interns were present at the location throughout the day. Amidst the hustle and bustle of rescuing birds, the head veterinarians managed to include time to train the interns. As the veterinarians performed intensive medical procedures, they narrated what they were doing step-by-step so that the interns could observe and replicate the same.

Several vets and interns provided their assistance to treat and operate on the injured birds. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS/Nikhil Bisht]

Bird Rescue and Treatment

In the four-day period, the team successfully rescued a total of 150 birds, including several pigeons, a Barn owl, a Black kite, a Common swift, and a Red-wattled Lapwing.  These birds were found suffering from varying impacts of the manjha like lacerations, wing injuries, bone fractures, muscle tears, and ligament tears. Some were found to have hypothermia, while others even suffered fluid loss. In cases where the right medical attention is not provided, such birds can even lose their ability to fly again. In even more dire situations, manjha strings can cause a significant amount of blood loss that can lead to death.

A Blue Rock pigeon was found bleeding due to a manjha injury and was immediately brought to the camp. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS/Nikhil Bisht]

On one particular occasion, a Rock pigeon was brought to the camp by one of the rescuers, with its wing and feet entwined in a manjha. As a first step, the veterinary team checked the vitals of the frail bird such as temperature and body weight. Next, they traced the extent of the manjha on the bird’s body. The team members were taken aback when they found out that the glass-coated string had cut through the bone on its left wing. While the manjha was safely removed, the pigeon underwent intramedullary pinning to stabilise the bones and eventually allow it to fly again.

An injured Black kite received treatment from the veterinary team. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS/Nikhil Bisht]

Several rescuers and veterinary officers worked round-the-clock to respond to calls about injured animals around the entire city of Jaipur. Upon receiving a call, the rescuer would immediately rush to the location along with the necessary equipment to rescue the animal. On-site first aid was provided to the injured animal, after which it was carefully transferred to the treatment site in a transport carrier. Efforts were made by conscientious city dwellers as well, who brought the animal in need directly to the camp. 

To celebrate the success of this camp, a ceremony was conducted to reward all the team members and volunteers with certificates of appreciation for their immense hard work. Throughout the period, we saw a rise in awareness, empathy, and enthusiasm not only among those working closely at the camp, but also among the general public. What came out of this free bird camp was not only immediate aid to suffering birds, but also a newfound appreciation for the avian population and the pivotal role they play in our wondrous world! 

The Wildlife SOS Rapid Response Units actively address situations of distress and conflict to make sure that any animal caught in such a scenario is fast attended to. Our units are established in the following regions and can be reached out for assistance on the 24-hour helpline numbers:

Delhi NCR – +91 9871963535
Agra and Mathura, Uttar Pradesh – +91 9917109666
Vadodara, Gujarat – +91 9825011117
Jammu and Kashmir – +91 7006692300, +91 9419778280

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Hotline Number | हॉटलाइन नंबर

Delhi NCT Region +91-9871963535
Agra Region (UP) +91-9917109666
Vadodra Region +91-9825011117
J&K Region +91 7006692300
+91 9419778280