The famous kite festival in Gujarat, or Uttarayan as it is known, may be a source of pleasure and joy to many, but has proven quite a harmful menace for birdlife in the state.
Every year, many birds suffer serious injuries, that mainly include life-threatening gashes on the wings and limbs from sharp kite strings (sometimes the strings are also coated with glass shards and other objects to 'cut' other kites down in competition). In order to save the birds this year, the Forest Department of Ahmedabad has collaborated with several NGOs in the city to save these vulnerable creatures by opening a special hospital christened Wildlife Care Centre Ahmedabad.
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According to a DD News report, the hospital comes equipped with an ICU, X-ray rooms, ambulances, and other state-of-the-art facilities to help the birds, and other ailing animals in the area.
The entire operation took over 20,000 volunteers from 20 different NGOs to set up, and has been a roaring success.
"Around 1400 birds were injured during the festival this year out of which 1350 were saved," said R.D. Khamboj, a district forest officer in an interview with DD News. "In this programme we have 7 other main centres that have operation theatres. We also have 11 primary centres where we provide basic treatment before shifting them to the main centre."
In the past, kite flying has also proved to be dangerous not just for birds, but also for bikers who are forced to garb themselves in protective gear so they will not get hit by the sharp, almost invisible strings that appear out of nowhere.
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