HYDERABAD: The forest department has initiated raids against the sellers of synthetic manja but brisk sales are continuing in many areas. Bird watchers and animal lovers have suggested that both the forest department and the government should focus more on the sales and import of manja throughout the year and not only during the festive season.
The Greater Hyderabad Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (GHSPCA) and People for Animals (PFA) said they had saved 22 birds that were entangled in kite manja so far this season. The number of birds that are being rescued is increasing year by year. The two societies have rescued 106 birds in 2017 and 156 in 2018. They fear that the number may go up further this year. About 50 per cent of the rescued birds died during treatment.
The birds rescued by the GHSPCA and PFA included eagles, kingfishers, woodpeckers, Indian rollers, pigeons and crows.
The forest department also rescues hundreds of birds every year. Mr Soudharam Bhandari, honorary animal welfare officer, Animal Welfare Board of India, and coordinator of the GHSPCA, said, “We have rescued 22 birds till now in this season. We expect that there will be more rescues after Sankranti. In 2018, we rescued about 156 birds and half of them died dead during treatment or before we reached them. We demand that the government should take serious action against the sellers and importers of manja. We also request the people to call 8886743881, 8555955202 and 9490149601 so that birds can be rescued.”
Bird watching societies have demanded that the sellers should be kept behind bars and the forest department should start its procedure before August as the imports of Chinese manja are done from then.
Speaking to this newspaper, Deccan Birders Secretary Shafat Ulla said, “The government should arrest the sellers or the importers for a month or two. So that, fear is created among the traders and that will help to bring down the sales of manja. The government and officials have started their action just before the festival. They must ensure that the action begins soon after the imports start.”