Firefighters rescue 700 birds in August

While, the agency received an average of 150 to 200 bird rescue calls on a monthly basis from January to July, in August alone, the Delhi Fire Services received 718 calls.
Thursday’s rescue took the total number of birds rescued by the DFS in August to 718.(Arun Sharma/HT PHOTO)
Thursday’s rescue took the total number of birds rescued by the DFS in August to 718.(Arun Sharma/HT PHOTO)
Published on Aug 30, 2019 03:53 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Anvit Srivastava

Ten days ago, the kite flying skills of a firefighter came handy when the Delhi Fire Services (DFS) rescues a crow entangled in a kite string wrapped around an electric wire in Daryaganj. The man flew the kite and used his dexterity to cut open the kite string which had the bird captured.

Enacting a similar rescue in Vikaspuri, Delhi’s firefighters on Thursday rescued another crow that was stuck on a tree branch with a kite string clutching its wings. Fire officers used a log to pull the string and rescue the bird.

Thursday’s rescue took the total number of birds rescued by the DFS in August to 718. In all, DFS has rescued around 2,000 birds this year, so far. While, the agency received an average of 150 to 200 bird rescue calls on a monthly basis from January to July, in August alone, the DFS received 718 calls. Chief fire officer Atul Garg said the drastic rise in the number was because of the kite flying season in August.

Senior officers said these rescue calls are mostly related to birds like parrots, crows, pigeons and kites. The calls include cases such as birds entangled in electric wires, birds trapped in narrow spaces or stuck in the bark of a tree. Apart from these, the agency also receives calls requesting rescue of dogs, cattle and cats that often fall into wells, pits or get stuck in closed spaces.

“All we rely on to rescue the birds is our presence of mind. The decision of flying a kite to cut the kite string in Daryaganj incident was taken on the spot as we had no other way out. The kite string was hanging from electricity wires and cutting off power could have taken a long time. We used a kite string made of glass shards to set the bird free by cutting the thread in which the crow was entangled,” Garg said, adding that it was a well-executed plan.

Talking about the Thursday’s rescue, Garg said the agency received the call early morning from one of the local residents. “The bird was badly entangled in a kite string hanging from a tree. Since it was not possible to climb the tree and the bird was way out of our reach, our team members used a long log and pulled the string down. Once the bird was in their reach, it was brought down and its claws were untangled,” Garg said.

“The number of cases we receive everyday shoot up during the kite flying season by three to four times. We received around 700 such injured birds between August 13 and August 25, this year,” Sunil Jain, said, honorary manager of the Charity Birds Hospital, one of the city hospitals dedicated to treating animals.

To prevent injuries to birds, animals and human beings, the government had banned Chinese manjha on January 10, 2017. The notification put a ban on sale, production, storage, supply, import and use of kite flying thread made out of nylon, plastic or any other synthetic material — including ‘Chinese manjha’ and any other kite flying thread that is sharp and laced with glass and metals.

Recalling other rescues, the chief fire officer mentioned rescuing a calf a few months ago. The calf had fallen into a well and the firefighters had to arrange for a cot and then make the calf sit on it. “The calf had to be pulled up along with the cot,” he said.

Garg said they do not get any specialized training or special equipment to use in case of animal of bird rescue. “If a rescued bird needs medical attention we take them to government animal hospitals. If they’re too young and need care, we take them to some NGOs running shelter and rescue homes for birds and animals,” the chief fire officer said.

In cases of snakes or other animals that may turn out to be dangerous and need special expertise, officials from the wildlife department are alerted, he said.

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