Even as the rest of city gears up for Uttarayan, several NGOs and animal lovers are getting ready to handle the rush in emergencies as far as birds are concerned. Apart from setting up helplines and rescue centres, they are also busy creating awareness about how harmful glass-coated manjas can be for the birds.
Rajesh Panchal of Sanjivani, a group of volunteers who rush injured birds to nearby medical facilities, said that this year they are also planning to collect the discarded manja threads. “The gucchas (discarded manjas) left on the terrace of buildings also end up injuring birds. We are offering Rs50 for every kg of such discarded manjas,” said Panchal.
He added that last year, they had collected 2.5 kg of discarded manjas but interestingly, all those who gave it to them refused to take the money. “The money being offered is not big but the idea is to ensure that birds don’t get injured after getting caught in the manjas,” said Panchal.
At the same time, the forest department too is gearing up for the rise in emergencies. “On an average, we receive 10 calls everyday at our control room in Bodakdev to help the injured birds and animals. But we expect this to go to 100 per day during the days leading upto Uttarayan and on the day of the festival,” said T Karuppasamy, deputy conservator of forests, Ahmedabad.
He said that close to 1,200 volunteers are expected to help the department in its endeavour to rush help to the injured animals. “Last year, we had close to 900 volunteers but this year it is expected to be around 1,200,” said Karuppasamy.
He further said that any citizen wishing to help the injured birds and animals can call the forest department’s helpline numbers. “As soon as we get a call, we will inform the volunteer nearest to that area who will take the injured bird to the five collection centres set up across the city. These centres are equipped to treat the injured birds and provide them with first aid too,” he said.
The department has also invited seven veterinary doctors from the Anand Agricultural University to help tide over the rush, added Karuppasamy. “The helpline is open 24/7 although we expect causalities to see a rise from January 11 onwards with maximum numbers being reported from Jan 13 to 16,” he said.
Sherwin Everett, a volunteer with Jivdaya Charitable Trust, another NGO that will be helping with rescuing birds, said they will be treating birds of all species as they have a tie-up with the forest department. “This means that we will also be treating critically endangered species like White-rumped vultures and even plenty of the migratory birds that visit the state this time of the year,” said Everett.
He added that a senior veterinary doctor from UK and a few veterinary students will also be joining them. “We will also be getting doctors from Pune, Nepal, Tamil Nadu, Leh-Ladakh, Mumbai and a few other places,” said Everett.