Welcoming Wildlife Day 2021 With New Norms

March 3, 2021 | By Mahima Sharma

For every individual involved in the field of conservation, World Wildlife Day is an opportunity to celebrate the pledge that we undertake in safeguarding wildlife. Today is the day we celebrate the unique and precious wildlife that surrounds us and re-evaluate this pledge to work hard. As we continue to battle the COVID19 pandemic, all of us at Wildlife SOS decided to celebrate World Wildlife Day this year by incorporating the new normal and reminding everyone of the importance of conservation.

Temperature checks have been mandatory at all the Centres.
Temperature checks have been mandatory at all the Centres. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS/Akash Dolas]

Our Manager and Education Officer for the Jammu and Kashmir Bear Rescue Centres, Ms. Aaliya Mir, was invited for an exclusive discussion on the importance of wildlife conservation on a national news channel, DD Kashir. Ms. Aaliya Mir has been working very closely with the Asiatic black bears and Himalayan brown bears and spreading awareness of conflict mitigation in the region. All of us at Wildlife SOS swell with pride in crowning her the only female rescuer of our organization as she rescues venomous snakes, bears, leopards, and birds from situations of distress and grave conflict.

Aaliya Mir rescuing a baby snake from a farmhouse in Srinagar, Kashmir.
Aaliya Mir rescuing a baby snake from a farmhouse in Srinagar, Kashmir. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS]

Ms. Aaliya Mir reinstated the importance of World Wildlife Day emphasizing the role of conflict mitigation. She spoke in great detail about avoidance behavior with wild animals, the do’s and don’t’s to be followed should you come face to face with a wild animal such as leopard or bears as well as how retaliatory killings invite hefty fines.

She also conducts regular workshops and raises awareness on human-wildlife conflict mitigation.
She also conducts regular workshops and raises awareness on human-wildlife conflict mitigation. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS]

The discussion was livestreamed but is also available on DD Kashir’s YouTube channel.

Our team operating out of the Agra Bear Rescue Facility had organized an awareness stall outside Taj Mahal, Agra. We distributed flyers related to wildlife conservation, avoidance behavior with snakes as well as educated people about the work that the organization does. Proper sanitization measures were taken into consideration and our education officers wore masks while interacting with people.

Our team (L to R) Anuj, Manoj and Rishik at the awareness stall.
Our team (L to R) Anuj, Manoj and Rishik at the awareness stall. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS/Shresatha Pachori]

The team also spoke about the Refuse To Ride campaign which urges tourists to not ride elephants used in the entertainment and tourism industry. They enlightened the visitors on the plight of captive elephants and the brutal training that they have to undergo to become “tamed” for tourists. You can also learn more about the campaign by logging onto www.refusetoride.org

Flyers on wildlife conservation were also distributed.
Flyers on wildlife conservation were also distributed. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS/Shresatha Pachori]

At the Leopard Rescue Centre in Maharashtra, World Wildlife Day was celebrated with fervor and enthusiasm. A team of 36 officers from 7 ranges of the Maharashtra Forest Department were invited to the Centre for the capacity building workshop organized by Wildlife SOS and the Forest Department.

Wildlife SOS imparted training on handling tranquilisation equipment.
Wildlife SOS imparted training on handling tranquilisation equipment. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS/Akash Dolas]

Wildlife SOS Veterinary Officer, Dr. Nikhil Bangar, conducted the training class on subjects such as the use of tranquilisation darts and guns, immobilization equipment as well as capacity-building. Towards the end of the workshop, there was also a mock drill organized where forest officers wore the rescue gear and learnt more about situation-based conflict resolution. The officers were trained on what was to be done when a leopard is trapped in a house or an enclosed space while ensuring the safety of the leopard and the local villages.

A mock drill was also conducted at the Centre.
A mock drill was also conducted at the Centre. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS/Akash Dolas]

It was indeed an eventful day for all of us at Wildlife SOS! You may learn more about the Highlights of the year 2020 by tuning into the video and learning more about the work the organization does.

This World Wildlife Day, advocate for the rights of the animals and always refuse to ride elephants!

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