Now that kite-flying is in full swing, it’s especially important to keep an eye out for injured wildlife. Birds often become entangled in manja, which is gummed and coated with finely crushed glass, metal or plastic. Pigeons, crows, owls and other birds have been slashed, wounded and killed after having come in contact with the razor-sharp string.
Please be prepared to help if you see an injured bird during the kite-flying contests or at any other time of the year. Keep the following items in your vehicle at all times so that you’ll be ready to respond should you encounter a bird – or other animal – in distress:
- Medium-sized carrier, cardboard or plastic with air holes
- Towel or blanket (with no strings or loops)
- Thick gloves
- Directions to and phone numbers of local veterinarians and animal protection groups. PETA India also has a round-the-clock emergency number – (0) 98201 22602 should you see an animal in imminent danger and need a referral to a local animal rescuer.
Please resist the temptation to interfere unless an animal is clearly sick, orphaned or injured (eg, he or she has a broken wing or leg, is bleeding or is unconscious).
Catching an injured bird can be difficult, and careless handling may cause further injury. Gently throw a towel over a hurt bird and pick him or her up, making sure that you hold the wings close to his or her body. You can place a small to medium-sized bird inside a well-ventilated, cushioned box. Put the box in a warm, dark, quiet, safe place.
Then arrange transport to an animal shelter or veterinarian immediately – every second counts!