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A crow lost one of its feet. (Photo: Shekhar Gaikwad/The Quint)

When You Fly Kites This Makar Sankranti, Don’t Kill Birds

Friends of birds and conservationists in Nashik are appealing to not use nylon threads to fly kites.

3 min read

It is Makar Sankranti, the time and the season for kite-flying revelry in west Indian states.

Friends of animals and conservationists in Nashik are appealing to people across Maharashtra and Gujarat to not use nylon threads (maanjas) as a part of their kite-flying apparatus as there have been numerous accidents (some fatal) where thousands of birds have got entangled in the threads.

“After the kite is cut off in a pench or wrangle in the sky, it comes down and often falls on some tall trees, shrubbery or electricity lines. Birds, during their flight, get helplessly entangled in these nylon maanjas. When they struggle, the thread gets so badly enmeshed in their wings, feathers and claws that the bird cannot escape until someone notices and rescues them. If unattended, they die in a matter of time,” said Shekhar Gaikwad, a bird-lover and enthusiast.

Gaikwad says his team of fellow conservationists have distributed pamphlets about the plight of birds in at least 90 schools in Nashik and have been appealing to one and all to use cotton threads for kite-flying instead of nylon ones.

Only ten days ago, Gaikwad and his team received a call about an owl and a crow trapped in a leafy grave atop some Eucalyptus trees. They had to engage the help of Fire Rescue personnel who deployed a 100-feet-long ladder to reach across other trees to the top.

The owl lost its wing and the crow its claws. Sparrows, kites, bats, parrots and several other birds have been victims to the nylon maanja that is available at throwaway prices.

“Sadly, this thread also does not degrade with time and remains a trap for several years to come for unsuspecting and helpless birds,” says Gaikwad.

Anand Bora, another conservationist has been pleading for a total ban by the administration on these nylon maanjas as several road accidents take place when two-wheeler riders ride straight across entangled maanjas, not distinctly visible to the naked eye.

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