Saturday, July 30, 2005

Tigers of Salsette, Song of Sandsumjee

A Gond fable from Seoni:
Sandsumjee married six wives, but had no heir, so he married a seventh and departed on a journey; during his absence, after his relatives had sacrificed to a god, she bore a son, Singbaba.

The “small wife was sleeping, the other six were there,” so they took the babe and threw it into the buffalo’s stable, placing a puppy by her side, and said “Lo! A puppy is born.”

But the buffaloes took care of Singbaba and poured milk into his mouth.
When the six wives went to look for him, they found Singbaba playing.
Thence they took him and threw him to the cows, but the cows said, “Let no one hurt him,” and poured milk into his mouth.
Read on.

And here are the tigers of Salsette.

Terrible Tuesday, Terrible for the Animals Too

Thousands of buffaloes, goats and sheep died by drowning in tabelas and slaughterhouses across suburban Mumbai as their owners left the shackled animals - many of whom could have otherwise swum to safety - before escaping themselves.

I'm sorry, but I just cannot bear to post any of the pictures. But they deserve to be seen if only as evidence of our own cruelty as human beings. Rediff has this report on the deaths of buffaloes in tabelas across suburban Mumbai. Ashish Panchal has more pictures of the devastation. NDTV has this brief report.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Good News First

Good news at Syracuse Zoo. The hard work begins when the elephant pups have to be trained. Just like training a puppy, except these weigh several hundred pounds. Meanwhile, bad news at these French zoos.

In Sri Lanka...

...A project to move 150 wild elephants back to protected areas.

Legislating to Protect

The U.S. Senate has passed four conservation measures that will preserve some of the country’s most beautiful wild places for generations to come. This Senate vote comes as Americans are getting out with their families for summer vacations, with many choosing to travel to and explore our country’s natural heritage. The legislation would protect wild lands in California, New Mexico, Washington, and Puerto Rico.

At Kaziranga, helping to prevent roadkill

This report tells of young men in Assam helping to protect the wildlife at Kaziranga National Park. Young men patrol through the night along the highways to prevent roadkill.

The Kaziranga National Park lies to the south of the Brahmaputra river and is often flooded during the monsoon. Because of these heavy showers, animals in the Park cross tend to the highway to reach the other side of the hilly area in search of food, and are often hit by speeding vehicles.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Home for Elephants

In Kerala, a home for 62 elephants, and a month-long rest for the jumbos:
During these 30 days of an annual sukhachikitsa (administration of restorative health care and treatment) session (it commences on July 1), they will be free from the exacting "parade duties" of festival processions. For them, it is a period of complete rest, frolic, feasts and rejuvenation.

The jumbos at the Punnathoor Kotta are plied with sumptuous and highly nutritious food, laced with ayurvedic and allopathic medicines. It ends with an elaborate bath that will almost mirror the effect of a thorough massage therapy every day. This rejuvenation care session for elephants was a unique initiative of the Devaswom, when it was started some 20 years ago. According to veterinarian K.C. Panikker, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have started sukhachikitsa for elephants in sanctuaries there.

The initiative has its roots in the intense man-elephant bond that has always existed in Kerala, and in the best traditions of elephant management practices inspired by that bond. The bond has been so strong, at least in Central Kerala where becoming a mahout had often been the cherished "career and goal" of many an adolescent even in upper middle class families.