Home Events Event Archives Workshop On Attending To Avian Emergencies During Makar Sankranti – Kite Flying Festival

Workshop On Attending To Avian Emergencies During Makar Sankranti – Kite Flying Festival

Workshop On Attending To Avian Emergencies During Makar Sankranti – Kite Flying Festival

Each year on January 14, the skyline in Ahmedabad comes alive with thousands of multi-coloured kites soaring high, trying to out manoeuvre each other. On this day, the people of the state of Gujarat celebrate Makar Sankranti, also known as Uttarayan, and come out in large numbers in the fight of the kites.

Days before the festival, the young and the old can be seen making their own kites and coating kite-strings (manja) with a paste of powdered glass and glue to make them razor sharp. While the day brings smiles to the faces of thousands, it becomes a messenger of death for thousands of birds living in and around the city.

Photo: Haseeb Badar.

This thread entangles birds and causes fractures, wing cuts and nerve injuries. In order to address this grave crisis, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)- Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) Emergency Rescue Network (ERN) has organised a workshop on “Attending to Avian Emergencies during Makar Sankranti – Kite Flying Festival” in association with Jivdaya Charitable Trust, Ahmedabad.

Event details:

Dates: January 2 to 4, 2015

Venue: Cama Hotel, Ahmedabad

For more details, please contact: Akash Bisht: +91 9990 094414, Dr Piyush Shastri: +91 95829 51255, Gira Shah, Management Trustee, Jivdaya, Ahmedabad: +91 99044 01017

About the event:

The workshop scheduled from January 2 to 4, 2015, in Ahmedabad, is primarily meant for ERN members from Western India who have been involved in rescue, treatment and rehabilitation of birds during the festival in previous years. However, members from other parts of country are also participating in the workshop. The intent to hold the workshop for members primarily from Western India is to ensure the participation of people from this region, as kite flying is more prevalent in these regions as compared to others.

"IFAW is honoured to support the local animal rescue organisations that sacrifice to help animals in crisis as a result of the Kite Flying Festival. We are working hard to build local response capacity and capabilities to save lives. IFAW and WTI recognise that only through collaboration and the implementation of best practices will we make an impact. I am grateful for the opportunity to enrich the IFAW-WTI India ERN which only makes us all stronger in our efforts to protect animals and educate the public about animal welfare," said Shannon Walajtys, Manager, Disaster Response, IFAW.

During the course of the workshop, theoretical and practical sessions on basics of rescue; volunteer and crowd management; handling and transportation of injured birds; treatment and post-treatment care; housing and husbandry of birds; awareness campaigns; and best practices to adopt would be discussed in great detail. Apart from these, the workshop would also include sessions that would help the participants enhance their response capacity when attending to such disasters.

"Each year thousands of birds would fall prey to this man-made disaster. Since ERN responds to natural disasters, this one was an exception. We knew that certain individuals and groups were tending to the injured birds, but we wanted to ensure that some basic skills are imparted to ensure the well-being of these injured birds and that led to this workshop," opined Radhika Bhagat, Head, Wild Aid, IFAW-WTI.

Experts from IFAW, WTI, Gujarat Forest Department, Ahmedabad Zoo and Gujarat Animal and Husbandry Department will share their inputs with the participants and help them respond to the crisis situations.

Practical sessions will be held at the shelter run by Jivdaya Charitable Trust in Ahmedabad. "The objective of Jivdaya Charitable Trust is to reduce the pain and suffering of birds, who have been injured. Our motive is to help them live a normal life. In partnership with IFAW-WTI, we intend to save and tend to as many birds as we can," said Gira Shah, Management Trustee, Jivdaya Charitable Trust. The workshop will conclude with a discussion on devising best practices based on lessons learnt from the workshop.

IFAW-WTI has set up this Emergency Relief Network (ERN) of wildlife rehabilitators working in India who rehabilitate distressed wildlife. ERN is an association of team of people whose expertise on the skill of rehabilitation can be utilised to reach out to rehabilitators in different parts of the country. This team of trained rehabilitators, of people and organisations, can exchange, share and contribute their knowledge and professional skills to save wildlife for the cause of conservation.

Ideally, ERN would like to get a commitment from wildlife rehabilitators spread in different parts of the country to address emergency situations as and when a need arises. You can know more about this network here.

Recently, ERN members played a crucial role in restoring badly damaged enclosures at the zoo in Vishakhapatnam and mobilizing local support to provide relief to affected animals after a cyclone hit the city. You can read more about this here.


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January 3, 2015, 12:25 AM
 What a welcome initiative! We who are involved with wildlife must understand that if public attitudes towards living creatures in the cities is callous, then the attitudes of the public towards wild creatures that they may never even see will be even more callous. This public apathy feeds the ignorance, arrogance and avarice of project promoters and their agents who have made it a profession to tweak public policy and law to suit profiteering at the cost of natural India.