The World Wildlife Day is observed every year on March 3 to raise awareness about the wild fauna and flora across the globe. Midday Online spoke to wildlife rescuers from Pune to learn about the adventures and challenges of rescuing wildlife animals and birds in Maharashtra
The World Wildlife Day is observed every year on March 3 to raise awareness about the wild fauna and flora across the globe. Photo Courtesy: Mid-day with special permission
When a striped Hyena entered the Malshiras forest of Maharashtra, its right paw got trapped in the hunting net. These hunting nets are laid down by the farmers of Solapur to prevent wild boars from spoiling the harvest. Incidentally, the Hyena managed to pull out the entire trap out of the ground and ran with it in the fields for almost a week.
“The trap had snapped on its paw and it had completely crushed the bones. The paw was hanging loose by a skin tissue. When our rescue team spotted the Hyena in the sugarcane field, we saw that its entire paw was about to fall off. It was writhing in pain as it had bled profusely from the right leg. We managed to keep the mob away from attacking it and brought it back to the Wildlife Transit Treatment Centre for medical attention”, shares a wildlife rescuer Tuhin Satarkar from Pune.
At the centre, the veterinarian operated its right leg while feeding the Hyena with a fluid diet for a few weeks. After three months of rigorous care and rehabilitation, its health began to improve and it started consuming meat and walking on all fours. On February 16, the Hyena was released back into the forest after full recovery.
Hyenas are amongst the various species that form the rich biodiversity of Maharashtra. Lately, these species have been facing a threat of population decline due to changes in their natural habitat. The causes can be attributed to urban development, climate change and evolving agricultural patterns. To unearth the wildlife conservation efforts, Mid-day Online spoke to wildlife rescuers Tuhin Satarkar and Nachiket Utpat from RESQ, a pune-based NGO that rescues, rehabilitates and provides care to wildlife.
Threatened species of Maharashtra
The International Union for Conservation of Nature maintains a global Red List of Threatened Species. Wildlife rescuers at RESQ have managed to rehabilitate the following animals that are identified as threatened species of Maharashtra:
Indian Star Tortoise (Vulnerable),
Indian Leopard (Vulnerable),
Black Spotted Pond Turtle (Endangered),
Rusty-Spotted Cat (Near threatened),
Indian Roofed Turtle (Vulnerable),
Mugger Crocodile (Vulnerable),
Crowned River Turtle (Endangered), Gaur (Vulnerable),
Indian pangolin (Endangered),
Indian Long-billed Vulture (Critically endangered)
The goal of wildlife rescue missions
Often wildlife gets stuck in arduous situations like an animal trapped in a well, hit by a car, met with electrocution or getting stuck on a tree. These situations require swift responses from the wildlife rescue team. However, just rescuing them is not enough. Nachiket Utpat, director outreach and human-wildlife interaction at RESQ, shares that rehabilitation is a crucial aspect of rescuing wildlife.
“Upon being released into the forests, these animals need to be self-sufficient after they have recovered. The ultimate goal of rescue missions is to enable an injured wildlife to go back into the wild and seek their own food and thrive in their habitat” he said.
The second goal is to sensitise people on peaceful coexistence with wildlife around them. Going ahead, the number of encounters that people have with animals is only going to rise. “People need to identify the differentiation between domestic animals and wildlife animals. For instance, a wildlife doesn’t necessarily have to be fed or petted. We need to just let them be to maintain harmony.”