What Should You Do When You Find An Animal in Distress?

September 6, 2021 | By Raashi Dev

To preserve a healthy ecological balance on our planet, human beings need to come together to protect our wildlife. Each species serves its own unique purpose in the food chain. As time moves forward, we’ve had to adapt to our current climate. Rapid urbanisation and habitat modification redefined the lines between cities and forests. Our wildlife that was once free to roam the rich, dense jungles is forced to live life in close quarters.

A black buck roaming the Akbar tomb premises. Photo (c) Wildlife SOS/Shresatha.

The sad reality is that our animal population is rapidly depleting as a result of anthropogenic factors such as a decrease in natural resources, illegal poaching, gentrification and climate change. Consequently, wildlife living in proximity to expanding areas struggle to find their foothold and face innumerable difficulties in their quest to adjust to urban life. If you happen to come across an animal in a distressed situation, here is what you can do:

Fret not!

Sometimes when people see wildlife in distress, they get so panicked that they often forget they are perfectly capable of determining if an animal is injured or not. Take a deep breath, carefully observe the injured being and then call for help.

A 6 ft long Python was found entangled in a cricket net at a Sports Club. Photo (c) Wildlife SOS.

Become the voice to the voiceless: 

If you are witness to an act of cruelty against an animal, speak up! Section 428 and 429 of the Indian Penal Code prohibits all acts of cruelty such as killing, poisoning, maiming or rendering useless of animals and recognizes it as a cognizable offence. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960 forbids the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals and amending the laws relating to the prevention of cruelty to animals. The Wild Life (Protection) Act of 1972 aims to provide protection to wild animals, birds and plants by declaring certain areas as Sanctuaries or National Parks. The Act also prohibits hunting of wild animals, birds etc. and imposes punishment for violating the same. Document all the relevant details and file a First Information Report with the police immediately. 

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Simple gestures go a long way:

If you come across an animal in distress, stay with it until help is secured. Carefully place bowls of water near the animal, making sure not to be too close to it. 

 A monitor lizard was rescued from a grocery store. Photo (c) Wildlife SOS.

Don’t be a lone wolf: 

Oftentimes, we may not understand the gravity of the situation or the appropriate actions needed to be taken under the circumstances. Additionally, the distressed animal may see human action as a threat and resort to violent retaliation. Refrain from taking matters into your own hands and call professionals like Wildlife SOS for help.

Villagers in Otur, Maharashtra heard the cries of a leopard and found the big cat struggling to stay afloat in a 45-feet-deep well.They called Wildlife SOS for help.

Persistence is key:

Make sure the lawbreakers do not get away with abusing animals. Follow up with appropriate authorities about your case, meet with officials and consider contacting the media to generate momentum. Seek legal counsel if necessary and take the case to court. Many lawyers are willing to help animals pro bono!

Wildlife SOS’s very own Dr Arun Sha has been involved in the rescue of over 70 wild sloth bears & 100 leopards from various heartbreaking situations! Photo (c) Wildlife SOS.

Wildlife SOS runs a 24-hour hotline in Delhi NCR: +91-9871963535, Agra & Mathura in Uttar Pradesh: +91-9917109666, Vadodara, Gujarat: +91-9825011117 & Jammu and Kashmir: +91-7006692300 and +91-9419778280. If you come across any wild animal that is injured, sick or in distress, please alert our rescue team on these numbers as soon as possible.

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Hotline Number | हॉटलाइन नंबर

Delhi NCT Region +91-9871963535
Agra Region (UP) +91-9917109666
Vadodra Region +91-9825011117
J&K Region +91 7006692300
+91 9419778280

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