Rising Above: Wildlife SOS And Friendicoes Rescue Delhi-NCR’s Flood-Stricken Animals

July 25, 2023 | By Aisha Siddiqui
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We have recently witnessed the devastating onslaught of the Yamuna floods in the Delhi-NCR region. The trail of destruction not only affected human lives but has also wreaked havoc on the local wildlife. However, it is essential to recognise that these floods were not a result of nature’s whims; instead, they were caused by a combination of factors stemming from human activities and environmental changes.

Delhi last experienced such intense single-day rainfall in 1982. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS/Kunal Malhotra]

The Yamuna river recorded its highest level at 208.48 metres, well above the danger mark. The rise in the river’s water levels can be attributed to increased rainfall in Haryana and the release of water from the Hathnikund barrage. But the reasons behind this calamity are multifaceted. Climate change is being witnessed through extreme changes in weather, including rising temperatures and heavy rainfall. Furthermore, Delhi’s rising population has resulted in human encroachment on floodplains, and urbanisation has impeded the natural flow of water. These have led to significant inundation as well as the unfortunate displacement of wildlife from their habitats.

In the face of this complex catastrophe, sister organisations Wildlife SOS and Friendicoes SECA have emerged as the frontline warriors, fearlessly rescuing and protecting vulnerable animals caught in the deluge.

Rescue teams of Wildlife SOS and Friendicoes were equipped with gear to promptly address distress calls during the floods. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS/Kunal Malhotra]

With the 24×7 emergency rescue helpline in Delhi-NCR (+91 9871963535) constantly buzzing with distress calls, Wildlife SOS’s Rapid Response Unit was quick to address each situation. Comprising skilled rescuers, veterinarians, and trained handlers, the dedicated team ventured into treacherous floodwaters without hesitation, braving the risks to save the lives of helpless animals.

In the month of July alone, Wildlife SOS executed a series of urgent rescues, pulling approximately 150 animals from the clutches of disaster. Our efforts included rescuing over 100 reptiles, among them were the Indian cobra, common Indian wolf snake, black-headed royal snake, Indian rat snake, checkered keelback, and Bengal monitor lizard. The team also saved over 42 birds, including mynas, green pigeons, parakeets, and doves, along with over 7 mammals, such as nilgai, squirrels, and rhesus macaques. These daring rescues took place across flood-ravaged areas in Delhi-NCR, where the team encountered challenging situations, from animals stranded on treetops and rooftops to those trapped in the basements of buildings.

Wildlife SOS and Friendicoes continue to rescue and provide aid for animals severely struck by the floods in Delhi. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS/Kunal Malhotra]

In tandem with Wildlife SOS, Friendicoes, a Delhi-based NGO renowned for its work in rehabilitating stray animals, played a crucial role in the rescue efforts. Relentless dedication and compassion enabled its team to extract approximately 1,000 animals from the clutches of calamity. Among these were over 500 dogs, 70 goats, and 400 cows, all struggling to survive amidst the floodwater and requiring immediate assistance.

The floods not only displaced animals but also brought humans face-to-face with these struggling beings. Among them were snakes, and snake sightings were on the rise. Wildlife SOS emphasised on the importance of remaining calm, and refraining from disturbing the snakes people encountered. By spreading awareness about snakes, the rescue team sought to foster harmony between humans and wildlife even amidst the chaos.

Wildlife SOS extended its rescue efforts to wildlife beyond the urban areas that were affected by flooding. In the Najibabad Forest Range near Haridwar, the Wildlife SOS Rapid Response Unit, in collaboration with the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department, attempted to save an adult male elephant trapped in a swamp. The elephant had ventured out from the adjacent forest and found itself stuck in a mud pool created due to incessant rains and subsequent floods. Despite the persistent efforts by our team to lift the exhausted elephant from the slippery terrain, the pachyderm tragically succumbed to physical exhaustion and dehydration after more than 12 hours of struggle. The incident highlights the challenges wild elephants face due to habitat modification and human encroachment, exacerbating their already vulnerable existence.

Wildlife SOS rescue team tended to the elephant stuck in a mud pool in Uttar Pradesh. [Photo (c) Wildlife SOS/Mradul Pathak]

The ongoing efforts of Wildlife SOS and Friendicoes SECA in rescuing and protecting flood-stricken animals in Delhi-NCR exemplify the true spirit of humanity and compassion. Together, the teams are devoted to safeguarding voiceless animals affected by floods. The unprecedented Yamuna floods in the Delhi-NCR region affected both human and animal lives. In the face of this devastation, Wildlife SOS and Friendicoes with their unwavering determination emerged as beacons of hope for flood-stricken animals.

To contribute to the remarkable work being done by Friendicoes in rescuing and rehabilitating animals impacted by floods, please consider donating to the cause.

To support the lifesaving work of Wildlife SOS and the care for orphaned, injured, and exploited animals at our facilities, consider making a donation.

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