Hyenas are protected species under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, with their population in the wild dwindling rapidly due to increasing conflicts, poaching and habitat destruction. Contrary to their negative portrayal in popular stories such as the Lion King, the hyenas are actually crucial in the survival of a healthy ecosystem as they feed on the carcasses of animals, eliminating the risk of spreading infectious diseases. The rapidly rising human-hyena conflict has introduced Wildlife SOS to situations involving hyenas fighting for their lives with broken limbs and broken spines after becoming victims of mob violence.
Wild animals like tigers, leopards, sloth bears, and even elephants, become victims when they fall into uncovered wells – and end up severely injuring themselves or losing their lives. In another heartbreaking incident, a nightly foraging routine took a turn for the worse when a young striped hyena fell into one such uncovered well. The incident occurred in a village in Otur, Maharashtra when the residents of the village heard distressed cries emerging from the well.
Owing to the regular capacity-building workshops held with the residents of the village, the situation was handled phenomenally by them, ensuring that in no way is the hyena harmed. The Maharashtra Forest Department and a team from Wildlife SOS reached the location where the hyena was trapped. The surrounding area was cordoned off to safely proceed with the rescue operation, while wearing face masks and maintaining social distance during the times of the pandemic.
Subsequently, a trap cage was carefully lowered into the 15-ft- deep well with a food bait to lure the hyena. The hyena was exhausted after long hours of struggle that rendered him weak and carefully climbed into the trap cage. The hyena was safely extracted from the well and a detailed on-site examination followed, in order to be sure of no permanent damage to the vital organs or bones.
The hyena was identified as a male, approx 5 years old. He had sustained minor lesions and abrasions on the forehead and stomach region due to the unexpected fall from the height and was immediately tended to by Wildlife SOS veterinarian, Dr. Nikhil Bangar. The hyena was kept under observation for a few hours and then deemed fit to be released back into his natural habitat, away from human habitation.
Wildlife SOS and the Maharashtra Forest Department have been actively involved in the rescue operations of wild animals falling into open wells. We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to the residents of Ane village for informing us about the plight of the hyena trapped in the well. They have been instrumental in saving the animal’s life and allowing him another chance to survive.
Watch the rescue and release operation of the striped hyena in Maharashtra!
Wildlife SOS runs an active petition urging authorities to provide fencing to the uncovered wells that contribute to the loss of life of the precious wildlife that surrounds us. Please consider becoming a part of the change and sign the petition!