The save Bird Project
Ahemedabad holds an annual kite flying festival from the 14th to 15th January as part of local tradition. Unfortunately at this time of year many of the city’s birds fall victim to the harmful glass coated or plastic threads suffering wing damage and often dying immediately due to shock. Those that survive are rescued and treated at the foundation. During the festival 3 camps are set up around the city and all 8 staff members along with volunteers are put to work saving the birds. Once transferred to the shelter the birds are numbered to indicate where they were found and set to recover in aviaries. If they manage to return to health they are released according to their number.
In order to reduce the number of birds injured each January the foundation also runs educational programmes in schools and colleges and produces leaflets for distribution in public places, banks and by mail, persuading people not to in fly kites. Adverts are also taken out in newspapers and on tv and members of the foundation talk to people on the roads flying the kites, explaining the danger posed to the birds and asking them to use lighter paper kites rather than the heavy plastic kind.
Presently the shelter is home to pigeons, doves, kites, owls, parrots, peacocks, egrets, red and black ibis a vulture and an eagle. Euthanasia of birds with permanent injuries, such as badly damaged wings, is prohibited by Indian wildlife law; therefore these birds are kept at the shelter throughout the remainder of their lives.
Indian vets do not tend to specialize in a particular animal species and consequently the shelter does not have a specialized bird vet. There is a distinct lack of vets able to the perform bird surgery and treatment throughout the whole of India and this poses an enormous problem for birds nationwide. What is really needed is for overseas vets with a specialized knowledge of birds to visit and help train the struggling Indian vets.