Fifty pigeons, three kites, two owls and one crow —this was the total count of injured birds that landed up at the animal hospital run by the Bombay Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA) at Lower Parel on Thursday.
As thousands of colourful kites were flown in the skies to celebrate Makar Sankranti, their maanja (abrasive strings) cut short the flight of several birds.
In the western suburbs, the Samkit Yuvak Mandal, a Jain youth organisation, could save only 165 birds from among the 254 rescue calls received from Borivli, Andheri and Malad.
Dr Deepa Katyal Engineer, a consulting veterinarian, has been treating injured birds since the past three days.
Pigeons appeared to be the most vulnerable to maanja injuries. BSPCA secretary Colonel (Retd) JC Khanna said, “Of the 50 pigeons that were admitted to the hospital, four to five died due to severe injuries.”
The hospital sent out an ambulance with a doctor, dressers and ward boys to areas in south Mumbai where kite flying is popular. SPCA also provided their para-veterinary staff to some NGOs and animal organisations to treat birds.
Samkit Yuvak Mandal had advertised their helplines in Borivli, 10 days prior to the festival. Volunteers carrying a knife or scissor to cut off the maanja that the birds get caught in, set out on bikes to rescue birds after receiving calls.