Wildlife SOS has run the only 24-hour animal rescue hotline in the Delhi National Capital Region (NCR) and in Agra, UP and in Vadodara, Gujarat for the past two decades. The City’s Police Control Room, Administration Department and Forest Department know that they can count on Wildlife SOS to respond efficiently and safely to calls for help and so they also divert any Wildlife Rescue calls they receive to our team in these respective cities.
Wildlife SOS addresses 300 Reptile Rescue calls every month. Our rescue team includes experienced snake handlers who are equipped with snake hooks and boxes to ensure that every reptile is rescued in the most efficient and professional manner ensuring minimal stress to the animal and the people involved.
Be it a cobra in a toilet, a monitor lizard that has accidentally strayed into a school, a peacock poisoned by pesticide, a deer or antelope loose on a golf course or at the airport, our well trained team endeavors to safely rescue these animals, birds or reptiles from high risk situations.
When a rescued reptile is brought to our Wildlife Rescue Centre, its measurements are taken and a physical examination is carried out. If the reptile’s health is compromised, necessary veterinary care and treatment are provided. Thereafter arrangements are made and proper permissions are acquired from the concerned authorities to release the creature into a suitable habitat. The release is done in the presence of representatives of the Forest/Wildlife department.
Sometimes, snakes are rescued from abusive conditions. Most of these snakes have been in the employ of Snake ‘Charmers’ and routinely they suffer from severe dehydration. Some rescued snakes have badly infected mouths due to unsanitary and inhumane fang and venom gland removal procedures. With respect to Pythons, we often find them tied with small plastic ropes to ensure that they do not bite as they are displayed by roadsides as an inducement in begging for money from the public.
If you are visiting India as a tourist, please don’t give snake charmers money. In India, it is a good rule of thumb that you never pay to see an animal perform as entertainment. All forms are against the law, and we ask you to help by calling the local authorities.
Please note: All animals are protected under Wildlife Protection Act 1972; Injuring or harming any species is a punishable offence under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
FAQ’s – Rescues and the Rapid Response Unit
Mammals we work with include monkeys, most commonly Rhesus Macaques, and civet cats. During winter, car accidents escalate due to the fog and calls for larger mammals like nilgai (blue bulls) are fairly frequent. We’ve even rescued pangolins, which are an endangered, highly protected species found in India. We also rescue birds like kites, peacocks and pigeons, as well as the occasional owl, particularly during chick season when they fall out of nests and during the summer when dehydration cases skyrocket. There are also the occasional calls about vultures, storks, parakeets and so on.
Of course, these numbers vary from day-to-day, and even the frequency of a particular type of call changes with time and conditions.
For example, in the summer (May-June) the number of calls for dehydrated animals (particularly birds) increases manifold. The monsoons (July-August) bring up the reptiles, and we’re generally swamped with snake rescues. As the winter approaches (November-January) cities get foggier, and road accidents with animals become more frequent, so we get lots of calls for nilgai (blue bulls) getting hit by cars.
The rescue team has to think fast and be innovative with its approach to every rescue, to keep the animal, and any people that may be around, safe.
In the case of a snake rescue, while only one person is required for the actual rescue, it’s always smart to have someone around for backup.
For animals that might be aggressive, or have proven difficult to handle in the past, we ensure that a minimum of three people attend to the rescue call. For example, with an adult nilgai (blue bull), a leopard or even monkeys, it is always safer to have a minimum of three people on-hand.
We try to have at least two people on a rescue so that if one person is driving, the other one is free to attend calls for updates on the situation, other rescue calls that come in etc. while also being able to care for or comfort the animal once it has been rescued. During a rescue a second person comes in handy for handling additional equipment like a flashlight or containment box/bag or if documentation of the rescue is required.
Typically, a rescue involves
1. A call on the helpline
2. Dispatch of the team
3. A call to the person for details about location, species etc. as well as instructions on protocol
4. Reaching the location and assessing the situation
5. Crowd control
7. Safely containing the animal and transferring it to the vehicle
8. Transporting the animal to the place of release or to the shelter
This entire process is repeated throughout the day (and through the night).
What remains the same day after day is the excitement of the job. There’s never a dull moment when you’re rescuing wildlife, and knowing that you’re saving lives every moment of every day is an exceptionally rewarding feeling. Of course it’s exhausting work, and there’s a lot of frustration and heartbreak when an animal doesn’t make it, but that’s all part of the job.