The Aga Khan Foundation in India is run by inspiring people doing amazing welfare work in the country, so when Wildlife SOS got a call from their Delhi office asking for help, we were only too happy to step right up.
The office building of the foundation is located in the capital nestled alongside a Nursery, full of squelching mud, fresh saplings and seeds for sale- and some slithering residents. The nursery environment attracts snakes and other lizards, which sometimes wander into the beautiful gardens of the Foundation’s premises.
Staff at the Foundation thus occasionally spot unwanted serpentine visitors to the office, and will more often than not kill the snake out of fear. In a bid to prevent unnecessary deaths of these innocent but deeply misunderstood animals, senior management at the Aga Khan Foundation approached Wildlife SOS to visit their office in Delhi and help sensitise the staff to the presence of snakes and protocol in case a snake is discovered.
And so, Wildlife SOS team member- Bindia Sahgal- found herself at the Aga Khan Foundation office twice in the last two weeks, telling a group of curious employees about Wildlife SOS, the work we do and our aims for conservation in the country. After this brief introduction, Bindia moved on to a fascinating presentation on snakes found in the city of Delhi, accompanied by a live demonstration by Wildlife SOS’ rescue team member Harshad Solanki who showed the audience a rat snake, a red sand boa and a monitor lizard. Bindia detailed the methods to identify snakes and hence distinguish venomous snakes from nonvenomous species and proper protocol to follow in case a snake is found.
The entire event went off perfectly, and a number of the employees in attendance made it a point to approach the speaker later and thank her, assuring her that they will refrain from harming a snake again. The Aga Khan Foundation presented Wildlife SOS with a wonderful souvenir takeaway and was kind enough to invite us for a follow-up talk in the coming week.
The next talk was held in the grounds of Humayun’s Tomb with the labour staff of the Foundation in attendance. A similar talk, this time in Hindi, enumerated the snakes that the attendees might come across during their daily work. An enthusiastic interactive session ensued, with the staff members asking some pertinent questions and giving Bindia and the rescue team a chance to dispel some common misconceptions about snakes and monitor lizards, thereby making people more aware and less wary of these animals, and hence less likely to harm them out of misplaced fear.
Awareness is one of the most important tools that Wildlife SOS employs to keep wildlife in India safe and to help people live peacefully with animals. Our rescue teams work round the clock to keep wildlife in urban environments safe through innumerable rescue and release operations in the city. If you find wildlife trapped, injured or abandoned in Delhi, don’t hesitate to call our rescue helpline at 9871963535.