October was a month filled with rescues from VIP locations and one that was dominated by reptile rescue calls, especially snakes. The Wildlife SOS Rapid Response Units safely rescued and released the animals. The Agra team was overwhelmed with the highest number of calls received out of the four hotlines running across the country. Each of the over 300 rescue calls on the Agra emergency helpline was promptly resolved by the Rapid Response Unit there.
The month of October also recorded the highest number of operations carried out this year in Agra, and a majority of them included snake rescues. Meanwhile, the Delhi-NCR (National Capital Region), Jammu & Kashmir and Vadodara teams also pulled off some crucial rescues. So let us take a peek into this month’s rescue highlights and see how the teams managed it all.
For the Delhi-NCR team, the month was eventful with not one but two massive rescues from noteworthy VIP locations. The first one was a Checkered keelback, found inside the residence of Amit Shah, Minister of Home Affairs. Measuring nearly 5 feet in length, the snake had made its way inside a gap between the wooden panels near the guard room of the bungalow. The rescue operation lasted 30 minutes as the wooden panels had to be removed, before carefully extricating the snake.
In another operation, the Wildlife SOS team had to jump into action and rescue a nearly 5-foot-long Black-headed royal snake from a grocery store located inside the Delhi Sachivalaya (Secretariat Building). The snake was tucked right at the end of the shelf above a stack of sealed packets.
The team’s encounter with snakes was not over as they conducted back-to-back rescues of three gigantic Indian Rock pythons. In the first case, a python measuring nearly 6 feet long was seen coiled up on a footpath by the side of the road near the Qutub Minar metro station. The Rapid Response Unit reached the location on time and rescued the distressed snake.
Wildlife SOS received another python rescue call from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Institute in Vasant Kunj. The team reached the location and spotted the 6-foot-long snake resting amidst the bushes in the garden inside the institute premises. Lastly, in what was the trickiest operation of the three, the team had to rescue a nearly 7-foot-long python from a residential area. Two rescuers had to work together to bring the python down from the branch of a tree in Delhi’s Rohini Sector-16. This spate of python appearances could be attributed to the spell of rains in Delhi-NCR.
Notably, the Rapid Response Unit rescued nearly 50 snakes, including the Spectacled cobra, Indian Wolf Snake, Black-headed royal snake, Checkered keelback and Common krait, to name a few. The team rescued 54 birds including an egret, Indian Peafowl, mynas and doves, and 23 mammals comprising 18 Rhesus macaques, three squirrels, a Golden jackal and a bat. As a result, the team in Delhi-NCR saved the lives of 126 animals in October.
For the Agra team, October was filled with unique yet challenging rescues. The 24×7 emergency helpline was flooded with reptile rescue calls, which sent the team scurrying across different parts of the city. Among some of the important incidents, the Wildlife SOS Rapid Response Unit rescued a massive 8-foot-long Indian Rock python. People residing in the Dhandupura area of Agra stumbled upon the huge python inside a sewer drain – a few metres away from the Taj Mahal – which prompted the team to carry out the extrication.
The team also rescued a Checkered keelback found in the Water Works premises in Jeoni Mandi. An Indian Rat snake stuck in an MCB Board of a house in Rangoli Colony in Sikandra and a Common cat snake from the garden of a house in Agra’s Shahdara area are also notable mentions of the month.
October ended with a late night crocodile rescue. The Rapid Response Unit rescued a nearly 5-foot-long Mugger crocodile after it was spotted on an agricultural field near Baswapur village situated in the Mainpuri district of Uttar Pradesh. After travelling for almost two hours, a three-member team arrived at the site and scanned the surroundings for any unwanted crowd. The team then used a safety net to carefully extricate the crocodile. The crocodile was believed to have ventured into the field via a canal, located approximately two kilometres away from the field. The reptile was found to be healthy and later released in the Chambal river in Etawah district in the presence of forest department officials.
The Wildlife SOS Agra team rescued 302 animal lives in October. Reptile rescues dominated the month with the number hitting 191. In both cases, it was the highest for any month in 2022 for the Agra rescue team. Among the reptiles, Indian Rat snakes took the largest share of the pie with 44 of them being rescued, followed by 43 Indian Wolf snakes, 34 Spectacled cobras, 22 Indian Rock pythons, 16 Bengal Monitors, one Flapshell turtle, one Softshell turtle, along with some others.
The team rescued 15 birds, some of which included a Crested serpent eagle, Indian Peafowl (peacock), Rose-ringed parakeet and Pond heron. October rounded off with 96 mammal rescues which included 64 Rhesus macaques, a Golden jackal, two civets and a hog deer, as well as Nilgais and Indian Grey langurs.
Given that festivals such as Dussehra and Navratri were being widely celebrated across the country in October, Gujarat too was soaked in the festive spirit. However, the festive celebrations were not so comfortable for the wild denizens, as a gigantic 10-foot-long Mugger crocodile appeared at a Garba night event during Navaratri celebrations in Janakpuri, Chhani near Vadodara.
The crocodile was seen roaming on the road, following which a four-member team from the Wildlife SOS-GSPCA team reached the location to rescue the reptile. After a long effort, the crocodile was lured into a trap cage cautiously so as to not distress the animal further and was safely handed over to the forest department. This was one of the biggest crocodiles rescued by our team this season.
In another incident, the Wildlife SOS-GSPCA team received a call regarding the presence of a crocodile measuring nearly 6 feet long, from Palashwala village. The crocodile was seen resting on the banks of a pond, and after a two-hour-long operation the animal was safely handed over to the officials of the Dabhoi Forest Range. Crocodiles weren’t the only reptiles that needed saving. The team also rescued three Bengal Monitors in the month, one of which was from a neighbourhood in the Vishwamitri township area of Vadodara.
Similar to the previous month, reptile rescues were the highest for the month of October in Vadodara, which included more than 40 venomous and over 70 non-venomous snakes. The Wildlife SOS-GSPCA team also rescued 79 birds and 58 mammals, therefore saving 265 lives in the month.
Jammu & Kashmir
For our Jammu and Kashmir team in North India, a unique operation was the highlight of the month. The Wildlife SOS Rapid Response Unit rescued a 4-foot-long Himalayan Trinket snake, which was stuck in the outer wall of Government Girls’ High School, situated in Srinagar’s Pandrethan area.
Upon reaching the location, the Wildlife SOS team saw the reptile stuck inside a crevice of the wall, with its tail partly visible. Realising the complicated nature of the scenario, the rescuers decided to break a portion of the wall to carry out the rescue. After a nearly hour-long operation, the rescuers safely extricated the snake avoiding any injuries to the animal.
Wildlife SOS carried out two more Himalayan trinket rescues. One of them was from a neighbourhood in Buchwara, measuring over 6 feet in length. The other one was rescued from the garden of a residence in the Nishat area. All the snakes were kept under medical observation, and later released back into the wild. In total, the Jammu & Kashmir team rescued five Himalayan Trinket snakes this month. This was in addition to the rescues of 10 Indian Rat snakes, one Levantine viper, one Indian Wolf snake and one Black kite, taking the total to 18 for the month of October.
Every month, Wildlife SOS carries out numerous rescues of wild animals. Our Rapid Response Units are established in the following regions and can be reached out for assistance:
Delhi NCR – +91 9871963535
Agra – +91 9917109666
Vadodara – +91 9825011117
Jammu & Kashmir – +91 7006692300, +91 9419778280
We encourage people to immediately alert the Wildlife SOS team on these numbers if you ever spot a wild animal in distress.