NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Agra Rescue!

March 29, 2018 | By wildlife@dmin

February has been an action-packed month for our Rapid Response Unit operating out of the Agra Bear Rescue Facility.

They started their month with a daring rescue of a nearly 7 foot long crocodile that had caused quite a stir in Latumai village near Shikohabad. Suspected to have made its way through a canal leading up to the agricultural fields, the crocodile had everyone fearing for their lives. After ensuring that all public safety measures were in place, the team managed to transfer the large reptile into a safe transport carrier and later released it into the Yamuna River, which is home to an existing crocodile population.

The team releases another crocodile that had been rescued from a village pond, earlier in January. Wildlife SOS was able to assist the UP Forest Department with timely intervention to prevent a conflict situation and loss of human lives and successfully rescuing as well as providing treatment to the distressed crocodile. On being deemed fit by the veterinarians a little after three weeks since the rescue, a decision was made to release the crocodile into the Yamuna River.

Around the same time, a rare Egyptian vulture was rescued after it was found lying on the side of the road in Agra city. On seeing that it was struggling to fly, a concerned resident contacted Wildlife SOS for help. Suspected to have been caught by a manja (glass-coated string) of a flying kite, the vulture’s right wing was severely injured and had to be rushed to the rescue facility where it is currently undergoing treatment.

Shortly after, the team rushed to the aid of a crested serpent eagle that was found in the premises of S.N. Medical College. The bird was reportedly weak, dehydrated and unable to fly and X-Ray examination conducted by veterinarian Dr. Ilayaraja revealed the bird has injured the right shoulder girdle. The bird is currently undergoing treatment and upon complete recovery, will be released back into its natural habitat.

In a horrific incident, a female porcupine was left on the brink of death after being attacked by an angry mob on the outskirts of the city. The small animal had injured itself after falling into a 20 foot deep well and in an act of sheer hostility, the villagers that had gathered around the well started pelting stones at her. When the Wildlife SOS rescuers arrived at the location, they found the animal bleeding profusely from the head and in a comatose state.  X-rays have revealed a fracture on the left side of the skull and abrasion of skin tissues. The fracture has been caused by the direct force of the stones that were pelted at the porcupine coupled with the impact of the fall. She has gained consciousness now and has been given oral rehydration solution and soft food to eat. We are doing our best to save the animal, but the prognosis is grave.

In another tragic event, The Forest Department alerted us to a honey badger that was found in a comatose state in the neighbouring town of Pinahat. The honey badger also known as a ratel is a tenacious small carnivore that is quite elusive by nature. They even hold the Guinness Book of World Records title of “World’s Most Fearless Creature”! The animal had sustained severe bite wounds and was in need to urgent medical care. A thorough examination by our veterinarians revealed that severe injuries to the soft tissues had caused swelling on the right fore- limb and that the prognosis was grave. Despite our best efforts, the honey badger succumbed from the extensive injuries and stress.

We have also had two civet cat encounters this month. In the first incident, an Asian Palm Civet was rescued from a truck carrying CNG (compressed natural gas) cylinders at the CNG filling station. The driver was loading the cylinders into the truck when he noticed the rather unusual looking animal sticking its head out from between the cylinders. The Wildlife SOS team was successful in rescuing the distressed animal, who was subsequently kept under observation to ensure that it is in good condition.

Following this successful rescue, we received word that another indigenous civet cat species -a Small Indian Civet was found trapped inside an open well in Jagdishpura village, Mathura. A two member rescue team was promptly dispatched to the location and they immediately got to work. It took almost an hour for the team to safely extricate the distressed civet from the well. The animal, later identified as a female was found be unhurt and released back into the wild.

The Wildlife SOS Hotline in Agra is run with the objective of helping people. This is a social service to assist the public and to sensitize them to the presence of urban wildlife and reptiles. We also assist the police and municipal authorities in addressing these issues.

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