Friday, August 05, 2005

When the Dogs Start Crying

Animals, too, died in the terrible rains the lashed Mumbai on 26 July. Buffaloes inside tabelas; goats and sheep inside slaughterhouses; and stray animals. Writing about that Terrible Tuesday, Amit Varma hears the crying of the street dogs:
Every year Bombay is badly hit on at least a couple of days during the monsoons, as the city shuts down because of too much rain. Weather forecasts rarely give enough notice, and a more accurate warning is the crying of street dogs. As rain lashes down and the water level rises, they keep moving along the streets in search of higher ground. When there is none to be found, and they cannot escape the water, they start crying. They do not do this in packs, mostly, and it is not as conspicuous as wolves wailing at the wind. So it is often lost amid the many other noises of a busy city.
Walking around the city's hard-hit suburbs, this is the sad aftermath that he sees:
Some suburbs remained flooded in the interim, and did not get power and water supply for a week. Where the water receded, the streets piled up with massive amounts of rotting garbage, onto which crows descended and stray dogs lingered. I came across the carcass of a buffalo lying in the middle of the road, which for some mysterious reason was wearing a helmet. As many as 1,500 dead cattle punctuated the streets of Bombay...

...Eventually the city would function again, and everyone would feel proud of living in such an important city. And the dogs, those that were left and were now dry, would stop crying. Until next year.
Those that were left.

(Cross-posted on Indian Writing)

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Have Some Fun

Here (thanks Amit for the link!)

Snake Rescue Hero

During Mumbai's heaviest rainfall and flooding ever, Shrikant Gujjar, leaving his own house in Ambarnath under five ffet of water, was busy rescuing snakes. According to this Mumbai Mirror report, he has rescued 17 snakes so far:
Gujjar, who calls himself a Sarp Mitra, or a friend of snakes, is a member of the non-governmental organisation Protection for Reptiles of India. In the last one week, he has captured 17 snakes - 7 Common Kraits, 4 Russell's vipers, 4 cobras, one saw-scaled viper and one cat snake - all of which, except one, are poisonous. He did this is response to distress calls from people in the neighbourhood...When it started pouring heavily on July 26, almost all the houses in Kansai section, Ambarnath (East) got flooded. Gujjar’s bungalow was no exception. It was submerged under five feet water. He shifted his family to his aunt’s house in another area and stayed back to guard his house. “I was trying to figure out how much of the furniture in the house could be salvaged when I got the first call. The caller said a snake had entered his house,” says Gujjar. He quickly forgot about his furniture and other worries and left for the caller’s house. He returned an hour later — with a cobra, wet and poisonous.
Gujjar, a businessman, has been reportedly rescuing snakes since 1995. After rescuing them from residential areas, he releases them in the forest near Ambarnath. And all free of charge, of course.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Flood Rescues at Kaziranga

From my mailbox, this appeal from IFAW:
"A scared rhino calf thrashes helplessly, swept along the surging floodwaters that will soon rage across Kaziranga National Park in India.

A herd of rare Asiatic elephants crosses a highway in desperation, searching for higher ground. If they are lucky enough to make it across the road without being hit by a car, poachers may be waiting on the hilltops to slaughter them.

You may have already heard about the terrible floods currently wreaking havoc in Bombay. But each year monsoon rains also turn Brahmaputra, one of the world’s great rivers, into a destructive force of nature. When the river overflows its banks, it means possible injury or death to many of the world’s most endangered species living in Kaziranga, including the one-horned rhino and Royal Bengal tiger.

Caught between drowning and poacher gangs, there’s no place to hide. But if these animals are lucky, they may be rescued by one of the few forest rangers who risk their lives every day to save them....

The IFAW-supported Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) in Kaziranga plays a vital role in the rescue and rehabilitation of animals during the annual Indian floods.

The Centre is a flurry of activity, with reinforcements in the form of rescue staff and trained volunteers, including veterinarians, working grueling 20-hour days to treat injured and sick animals before releasing them back into the wild.

Last year CWRC handled 44 wild animals injured in floods or accidents and spent day and night patrolling along the highway rescuing injured wildlife. The floods also damage the infrastructure of the park, destroying most of the roads, and a huge amount of work is required every year to repair the damage.

Together, we can protect one of the world’s most important animal sanctuaries

Created in 1905 to prevent the extermination of rhinos, Kaziranga is renowned as one of the finest and most beautiful wildlife refuges in southern Asia. It protects approximately half of the remaining one-horned rhinoceros population (of only some 2,300 left in the world), as well as many other threatened species.

The park also boasts the highest density tiger population as well as a multitude of other Indian species that are large in size: elephants, wild buffaloes, gaurs, swamp deer, sambar deer; Kaziranga has it all..."

Please visit www.ifaw.org for more details.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Elephant Abandoned by her Mahout

Yes, it happens. It happened in Mumbai last week, as this Indian Express Newsline report tells us:
For days, as hapless residents watched, the 35-year-old female elephant passively stood in the open, tied to a tree.

"The poor thing was drenched and her legs have been affected. She has been in the rain for four days now," he said.

Dr Kazveen Umrigar, a veterinarian, said that while an elephant is unlikely to be affected by the rain, wet feet could lead to an infection. "If they start to feel cold, they can turn hypothermic and the body temperature can dip below normal," she added.
But now the rains have abated, and the mahout is back.