On a festive Monday, several residents of Kandivli witnessed a rather grim sight – that of a ‘Smashan yatra’ (a funeral procession) for birds who died of injuries after being cut by manja (glass-coated thread), used to fly kites.
The Jain Aradhak Mandal in Kandivli, which has been organising animal rescue efforts from its Jain temple for the last six years, decided this was the best way to spread awareness about the harm done to birds from kite-flying.
“We took the bodies of eight dead birds around the lanes of Kandivli west in the form of a funeral procession,” said a member of the organisation who did not wish to be named. “Many people had tears in their eyes,” he said. The group has rescued more than 70 injured birds over the last two days.
However, despite several injuries reported across the city on Sankranti, activists and animal welfare groups reported a considerable drop in such cases compared to previous years.
On Monday, 60 injured birds were admitted to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) hospital in Parel, of which 45 were pigeons and the rest included kites, owls and crows. The hospital’s ambulance also rescued about 135 birds around south Mumbai.
“Fewer birds have been injured as awareness spreads among people. However, we are expecting more injured birds in the next few days,” said Lieutenant Colonel JC Khanna, secretary, SPCA.
Last year, the hospital had treated about 1,000 injured birds, some of which were brought to the hospital, and others were rescued by the ambulance team.
The Malad-based Ahinsa group, which has volunteers across the city, rescued 86 injured birds, of which five died. Last year, on Sankranti, the group received 187 cases in a single day.