BENGALURU : In spite of a ban on the sale and use of Chinese manja, a nylon thread coated with powdered glass, used to fly kites, the city’s avian population still faces the threat of injury, mutilation and even death from the dangerous thread that continues to be used by kite-flyers in Bengaluru.
Bird rescuers from just one organisation, working with volunteers from the BBMP found four birds killed, and rescued seven more in the aftermath of the Sankranti celebrations this Tuesday. With several instances going unreported, the actual number of birds injured or killed by the thread is expected to be much higher.
Meanwhile, the sale of this thread continues unabated in the city’s kite shops in spite of the ban.
“There is a demand for the same although it has come down in recent years, some kite-flyers, especially those who engage in competitive kite flying want manja and ask for it specifically,” said a kite shop owner in Shivajinagar.
With the rough edges, birds who find themselves stuck in manja are slowly cut and strangled as they try to escape the sharp thread.
According to Rajesh Kumar, founder of Wild World Conservation Trust, there are several campaigns being conducted across the city to educate people about the threats that using manja poses.
“We are also picking out these threads from the trees whenever we spot them along with BBMP’s Forest Cell volunteers. We have collected at-least 1 kg of Chinese manja thread so far,” said Kumar.
Once collected, burning the thread is the only way to permanently ensure it doesn’t return or claim the life of another bird.
The team has also been visiting local schools to gather volunteers to help them with their project. Equipment which would help them climb trees and cut down manja is also being sought by the volunteers and some areas in which they are active include Rajaji Nagar, Malleswaram, Banerghatta Road, Hulimavu, Hebbal, Vidyaranyapura, Sanjay Nagar, Frazer Town, Mekhri Circle and Arekere.
According to Jairaj, a volunteer with the BBMP Forest Cell who specialises in wildlife rescue, most of the manja can be found in and around lakes. “The numbers were quite high near Hulimavu and Bilekahalli,” he told City Express. Jairaj also added that few birds were rescued in Malleswaram, Frazer town, Shivaji Nagar and Ulsoor. “The rescued birds were sent to rehabilitation centres. Most of their muscles and wings were hurt while trying to detangle themselves from the thread.”