A Man Who Will Go to the ends of the Earth to help wildlife

January 14, 2013 | By wildlife@dmin

                                                      

Currently, Baiju manages the Wildlife SOS Agra Bear Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in India. However, in his early years with Wildlife SOS his focus was on being the rescue coordinator for the wildlife rescue team and hotline run by Wildlife SOS in Delhi. In this role Baiju encountered many different and sometimes complex situations where he needed to be fearless, smart and tenacious in order to rescue wild animals in distress. Although there are many animals that Baiju rescued when he was in this role, one particular rescue illustrates his determination and courage to get the job done.

Baiju recalls a situation where a large eleven foot python had ended up at the bottom of a well over a hundred feet deep.  Baiju recalls, “It was impossible to see the bottom from the opening at the top, it was like looking into a deep abyss.   We didn’t know how the python fell down there or how long it had been there. Someone had spotted it and reported it to the Wildlife SOS hotline. We knew it was alive and it was essential to get it out of there as soon as possible”.  Therefore, with little more than a torch light, a snake bag to put the snake into and a rope ladder, Baiju proceeded with the rescue operation.

Baiju descended down into the deep and dark well, being as cautious as he could considering he was on a rope ladder and had no harness for protection.   Reaching the bottom was the easy part.  Then he was faced with the task of getting this large python into the bag, which was going to be quite a feat! Although Baiju grew up the son of a very respected and well known herpetologist and was highly skilled in handling reptiles, this proved to be quite a challenge.  Baiju was trying to deal with a strong and agitated snake in pitch darkness.  As he tried to maneuver the snake into the bag, he was bitten in the process.  He was not hurt and speaks sympathetically on behalf of the snake. “He was probably very scared and hungry and who knows how long it had been down there.” 

Once the snake was secured in the bag, Baiju began the long climb back to the top of the well. He remembers vividly that the climb was exhausting because of the weight of the large snake.  He recalls needing to rest every few steps and therefore, the climb took over 35 minutes.   

Of course Baiju and the python made it to the top safely. The python was eventually released safely into natural habitat in a wildlife sanctuary and Baiju went on to fulfill many different challenging roles at Wildlife SOS.

Although Baiju’s current job requires less work on rope ladders, it is still every bit as challenging and rewarding.  When he is asked about what a typical day is like overseeing the Agra Bear Rescue Facility, he smiles at the word ‘typical’ and then replies, “We are fire- fighting quite often, Anything can happen at any time, a forest fire, a wildlife emergency, a rescue, it is unpredictable – but I love that!”  

Baiju also hesitates to speak about his favorite animal because he loves all animals.  When he is pushed to narrow it down a bit he explains, “We have a very short life, so during it we need to do something special for nature and for wildlife.  There was a time that I was only focused on wildlife.  However, after meeting my wife and seeing her compassion for all animals, I now want to help all animals. ”  After a pause, he adds, “I do have a special love for snakes.”

This makes him a hero for all animals and Wildlife SOS is honored to have a leader on the team that shows compassion for all wildlife, and will go to the ends of the earth to help an animal in distress.

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