As many as 4,026 birds were reported to be injured and 214 killed by kite strings in the last four days leading to Uttaryan in the state. More than half of them (2,207) were injured on a single day — January 14 — and 33 per cent (1,299) of the cases were reported from Ahmedabad alone in the last five days. Also, on Uttarayan, the highest number of birds (643) were injured in Ahmedabad city, out of which 38 died. The injured birds were attended to at nearly 800 veterinary hospitals across the 33 districts under the government’s ‘Karuna Abhiyan’ programme.
Though kite flying continues till January 15, many more birds get injured after the festival due to hanging strings on tress and poles. Last year, as many as 8,303 birds were rescued by different agencies during the entire Uttarayan period. Out of them, 7,699 were treated and released, while 609 died.
The forest department attributed the fall in the number of injured birds to awareness and an aggressive campaign. “The decline in numbers can be attributed to either less reporting or actual decline in incidents. In this case, it is the latter,” said G K Sinha, principal chief conservator of Forest Wildlife and the nodal officer of the campaign.
In all these years, more than 65 per cent of the cases were reported from only four major cities — Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot. But this year, the campaign was extended to the four other cities including Bhavnagar and Surendranagar. “This year, for the first time, more than 20 lakh school and college students pledged not to fly kites with glass coated or chinese strings,” Sinha added.