510 birds injured, rescuers say number may cross 1,000
Independence Day and a few days before and after it are a busy time for doctors at Jain Bird Hospital. They have admitted 510 birds injured due to manja threads — nylon and one fortified using crushed glass — during the time.
It is a yearly occurrence but this year the numbers are higher.
“We got around 350 birds for the same duration last year. This year, I think we will have around 1,100 cases till Rakhi,” said Sunil Jain, the manager.
For the first time, a peacock was entangled in manja was brought to the hospital. “I had not seen that before,” Jain said.
Less than four kilometres away, two brothers treat raptors – bird of prey – and house them on their rooftop as they recuperate.
“We got 28 black kites and one pigeon on Monday and will get around 20 kites by Tuesday night. In all cases, it is the Chinese manja that the birds have got entangled in,” said Mohammad Saud, who runs Wildlife Rescue, with his brother Nadeem Shahzad.
Wildlife Rescue caters to kites, owls, eagles and hawks. The Jain Bird Hospital does not house them since they are birds of prey. Most are sent to the brothers.
The danger posed by manja is not new. It has fluttered feathers of animal rights activists for years now.
People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, PETA, has rallied to have governments ban the deadly string and stick to saddi – a plain cotton thread.
“The good thing about the Delhi government’s ban is that it includes the Bareilly ka manja. Other governments such as Gujarat, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra have banned only the Chinese nylon strings,” said Nikunj Sharma, spokesperson, PETA.