The best way to appreciate one’s effort is to express gratitude. Wildlife SOS went ahead to do so for the frontline heroes and guardians of wildlife: our veterinarians. And what better day to celebrate them than Veterinary Appreciation Day? Globally, June 18 is designated as Veterinary Appreciation Day to thank the bravehearts who have dedicated themselves to save the lives of the voiceless.
To mark this occasion, the Wildlife SOS Bannerghatta Bear Rescue Centre (BBRC) organised activities on June 17 and 18 to express our appreciation to the in-house vets at BBRC. The centre played host to employees of the Bangalore office of Western Digital, a global computer hard disk drive manufacturer and data storage company, who participated as volunteers for the activities. A cake-cutting ceremony was held as well to celebrate the occasion with all the veterinarians of BBRC.
A total of 25 Western Digital employees volunteered with Wildlife SOS over two days; 12 people on the first day and 13 the following day. The employees connected with the vets to know more about their job, the various aspects related to their day-to-day activities and even their favourite animals! The volunteers were given a tour of the centre, followed by interactive sessions with the vets regarding the centre’s management and the veterinary care of the rescued animals. A documentary film related to Wildlife SOS’ work was also screened for the participants.
The volunteers then went ahead to prepare enrichments for the resident Sloth Bears: one group focused on building hammocks, while the other focused on making swings. The BBRC members and veterinarians also participated in the activity and the caregivers assisted volunteers in building the enrichments. The BBRC vets also responded to questions on the different enrichments and their importance in the life of a rescued and rehabilitated animal. Structural enrichments including enclosure designs, wooden platforms, swings and climbing structures provide the captive animals a means of exhibiting natural forms of locomotion.
Additionally, sensory enrichments can also play a role in heightening or diminishing the use of an animal’s senses. Sloth Bears are known to be voracious eaters, with a strong olfactory sense. It is therefore a part of their natural behaviour to dig for termite and ant mounds, which maintains their good health and overall psychological welfare. Mealworms too are mixed in the bears’ meals once or twice a week as enrichments. The volunteers enjoyed feeding dates to the bears from a safe distance. The volunteers from Western Digital also pledged their support to our #RefuseToRide campaign, which concluded the day-long events.
When asked about their thoughts on the occasion being celebrated at BBRC, our veterinarians appreciated the fact that the whole team arranged for this day to recognise their efforts. They were even delighted to answer the various queries of curious and enthusiastic volunteers.
Wildlife SOS is known for its work on resolving the 400-year-old ‘Dancing Bears’ tradition in the central and southern Indian landscape. The Bannerghatta Bear Rescue Centre is currently home to nearly 70 sloth bears, most of whom were rescued from this barbaric tradition. However, rehabilitating the bears has only been possible due to exemplary care provided by our highly skilled veterinarians.
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