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Manja menace for 250 birds

Animal lovers and activists from across the city were on their toes yesterday after some 250-odd birds were brought in for medical treatment, after the manja (cotton threat coated with powered glass) used for flying kites on Makar Sankranti left them wounded.

"We have organised a medical camp for birds from Jan 14 to Jan 16. Till now, we have treated nearly 110 birds, of which some are seriously injured and have either lost a wing or a leg. These birds won't be able to fly again," said Hirachand Sanklecha of Chira Bazaar Jain Saangh that has arranged a medical camp for injured birds at Chira Bazaar in South Mumbai.

"Since pigeons fly in a flock, they are the worst affected. We have carried out a campaign, requesting people to use regular thread instead of manja for flying kites," said Lt Col (Retd) J C Khanna, secretary, Bombay Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA). "So far, we have treated around 20 pigeons, seven owls, seven kites, three crows, two cuckoos. Besides, around 150 seriously injured pigeons have been brought to our Parel hospital. Birds are coming from areas like Gateway of India, Girgaum and Dadar," said Khanna.

Similarly, Plant and Animal Welfare Society received around 12 pigeons, two kites, a sparrow, and an owl.

"Medical camps will be conducted between Thane and Powai for two more days, as people tend to fly kites until their stock lasts. Thankfully, school kids and college students have joined us in our campaign," said Sunish Subramanian, founder and secretary, PAWS, Mumbai. "We have alerted residents in our area to inform us if they spot a bird entangled in manja. The more the birds try to free itself off the manja, the deeper it cuts," added Subramanian.

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