Photos: Independence Day kite flying makes skies death traps for birds

As kite flying enthusiasts take to the skies in the weeks around Independence Day, the use of razor sharp 'Chinese' manja thread -coated with glass and metal- spells hazard for birds who inadvertently find themselves entangled, lacerated and often killed in the process.

UPDATED ON AUG 16, 2017 01:01 PM IST 8 Photos
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Come August, skylines around the country are increasingly dotted with kites and crowds on rooftops engaged in fierce dogfights. In this drive to draw opponents out of the sky, ‘Chinese’ manja kite string has been the go-to option among the more competitive. Despite a ban on the killer manja in Delhi, birds in flight across the city continue to be the biggest casualty around kite flying season. Some animal welfare organizations have taken up the cause of aiding the recovery of the capital’s avian citizens. (Arun Sharma / HT Photo)

Come August, skylines around the country are increasingly dotted with kites and crowds on rooftops engaged in fierce dogfights. In this drive to draw opponents out of the sky, ‘Chinese’ manja kite string has been the go-to option among the more competitive. Despite a ban on the killer manja in Delhi, birds in flight across the city continue to be the biggest casualty around kite flying season. Some animal welfare organizations have taken up the cause of aiding the recovery of the capital’s avian citizens. (Arun Sharma / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON AUG 16, 2017 01:01 PM IST
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’Chinese’ manja, manufactured in India itself derives this name from the use of artificial fibres such as nylon, coated with a masala of glass, metal and glue which results in a higher tensile strength compared to traditional cotton based manja. Cheaper costs of making this razor sharp thread make it popular among buyers and have lent it the ‘Chinese’ moniker. As greater numbers of kites take to the skies, bird casualties through entanglement, lacerations to their wings or fatal injuries become more frequent. (Arun Sharma / HT Photo)

’Chinese’ manja, manufactured in India itself derives this name from the use of artificial fibres such as nylon, coated with a masala of glass, metal and glue which results in a higher tensile strength compared to traditional cotton based manja. Cheaper costs of making this razor sharp thread make it popular among buyers and have lent it the ‘Chinese’ moniker. As greater numbers of kites take to the skies, bird casualties through entanglement, lacerations to their wings or fatal injuries become more frequent. (Arun Sharma / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON AUG 16, 2017 01:01 PM IST
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While pets have the option of professional veterinary care, it is the strays that are most at risk post injury. Sansthanam Abhay Daanam Trust,based in Ghaziabad is one non-profit NGO that caters to strays in the Delhi (NCR) region. The organisation focuses on providing on-site treatment to strays, including medical and surgical treatment to injured animals. (Arun Sharma / HT Photo)

While pets have the option of professional veterinary care, it is the strays that are most at risk post injury. Sansthanam Abhay Daanam Trust,based in Ghaziabad is one non-profit NGO that caters to strays in the Delhi (NCR) region. The organisation focuses on providing on-site treatment to strays, including medical and surgical treatment to injured animals. (Arun Sharma / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON AUG 16, 2017 01:01 PM IST
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Birds in the city find themselves at risk in greater numbers during the month of May when many species enter the nesting period. Significant casualties to young chicks are observed during this period. August on the other hand is the most hazardous period as birds fall prey to manja related injuries. The common varieties of sparrows, pigeons and parrots are often easily taken in by various charitable and veterinary institutions around the city. (Arun Sharma / HT Photo)

Birds in the city find themselves at risk in greater numbers during the month of May when many species enter the nesting period. Significant casualties to young chicks are observed during this period. August on the other hand is the most hazardous period as birds fall prey to manja related injuries. The common varieties of sparrows, pigeons and parrots are often easily taken in by various charitable and veterinary institutions around the city. (Arun Sharma / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON AUG 16, 2017 01:01 PM IST
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The case for injured birds of prey such as Black Kites, Egyptian vultures, Falcons, Barn Owls and Hawks however is a bit more complicated as many establishments avoid taking them in over concerns for other herbivorous birds and the added costs of feeding and maintaining these carnivores. (Arun Sharma / HT Photo)

The case for injured birds of prey such as Black Kites, Egyptian vultures, Falcons, Barn Owls and Hawks however is a bit more complicated as many establishments avoid taking them in over concerns for other herbivorous birds and the added costs of feeding and maintaining these carnivores. (Arun Sharma / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON AUG 16, 2017 01:01 PM IST
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Brothers Nadeem Shahzad, 36, and Mohammad Saud, 32, have acknowledged the need for aid to injured raptors and began running Wildlife Rescue from Old Delhi, one of the city’s few avian centres addressing birds of prey. (Arun Sharma / HT Photo)

Brothers Nadeem Shahzad, 36, and Mohammad Saud, 32, have acknowledged the need for aid to injured raptors and began running Wildlife Rescue from Old Delhi, one of the city’s few avian centres addressing birds of prey. (Arun Sharma / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON AUG 16, 2017 01:01 PM IST
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Beginning by simply rescuing birds based on volunteer calls and taking them to vets, the brothers undertook the task of tending to the birds themselves following rejections on religious grounds by hospitals refusing to treat meat-eating birds. Aided by consultant veterinarians and medical books they learnt the skills of stitching wounds, fixing broken bones and perform minor surgeries themselves. They have also set-up a shelter for birds until they become fit for release back into the wild. (Arun Sharma / HT Photo)

Beginning by simply rescuing birds based on volunteer calls and taking them to vets, the brothers undertook the task of tending to the birds themselves following rejections on religious grounds by hospitals refusing to treat meat-eating birds. Aided by consultant veterinarians and medical books they learnt the skills of stitching wounds, fixing broken bones and perform minor surgeries themselves. They have also set-up a shelter for birds until they become fit for release back into the wild. (Arun Sharma / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON AUG 16, 2017 01:01 PM IST
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While Delhi and multiple states in the country have banned the abrasive ‘Chinese’ manja, implementation is considered hard as buyers continue to sway towards it owing to lesser costs than cotton manja even when procured from the black market. A ban on import of synthetic threads would also violate India's WTO commitments. The continued influx of avian casualties in the 2017 kite flying season is an indicator of the continued prevalence of this killer thread and threats to avian life. (Arun Sharma / HT Photo)

While Delhi and multiple states in the country have banned the abrasive ‘Chinese’ manja, implementation is considered hard as buyers continue to sway towards it owing to lesser costs than cotton manja even when procured from the black market. A ban on import of synthetic threads would also violate India's WTO commitments. The continued influx of avian casualties in the 2017 kite flying season is an indicator of the continued prevalence of this killer thread and threats to avian life. (Arun Sharma / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON AUG 16, 2017 01:01 PM IST
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