On 6th May 2014, an injured leopard was rescued from the Rajouri area, with both the fore limbs below the knee missing, most probably the victim of the landmine blast or the leg traps.
The animal was brought to Manda Deer Park for treatment and today it has been five years that the leopard is still alive and healthy in Manda Deer Park. This is an exceptional example ofdedication, affection and veterinary care given to the leopard by the staff of the Department of Wildlife Protection.
The rescue, care of wild animal presents many administrative, executive and veterinary challenges.As soon as the SOS calls are received by the control rooms, the Human Animal Conflict Resolution Teams are deputed to any area irrespective of the terrain and geography of the area, the animals are rescued with utmost precautions so that there is no human injury or injury to the wild animal. Thereafter the animals in need of treatment are brought to the Veterinary Section of the Manda Deer Park/Mini Zoo.
The animals are, by definition, ‘wild’ therefore, diagnosis and treatment can be time consuming and challenging. The care of wild animals is complicated by their being particularly susceptible to stressors and other adverse effects of close contact with humans and confinement in captivity. Despite great advances in wildlife, zoo and exotic animal medicine in recent years, relatively little information is available about the biology of the wild animals.However, with these constrains, the best possible treatment is given to the injured animals by the Veterinary Doctors who are on deputation to the Wildlife Department and often take the assistance or guidance of the experts in the Animal Husbandry Department or Veterinary wing of the SKAUST, Jammu.
The number of animals of different species with various injuries/ailments have been treated in the Veterinary Section of the Manda Deer Park/Mini Zoo. The animals with road/railway accident injuries i.e. the animals being hit by the speedy four wheelers mainly on the National Highway from Jammu to Kathua and by the trains were treated at Manda. Mostly, the Neelgai and Sambar have been hit by the vehicles/trains, the animals hit by four wheeler have chance to survive but the animals hit by the train have negligible chance to survive because of multiple fractures of the rib cage, puncture of the lungs and injuries in the abdomen etc.
On 5th May 2016, a Langur was rescued from the Manthal area on the Jammu Udhampur NH, which was hit by the car. The Langur was brought to the Manda by the wildlife team.The right arm of the langur was amputed,as it was badly fractured and had no other solution. The langur was kept under observation for about a month and was latter on released in the area from it was rescued.
Treated and rehabilitated back in to the wild
The animals, like leopards with vehicle hit injuries and even the monkeys who are either hit by the vehicles or gets injured because of electricity shocks have been treated. The Hog Deer, injured because of concertina wires at the International Borders of Samba have been treated and kept in the Deer Park.
Sometimes, the abandoned young-ones of the wild animals are also rescued and are kept in the Manda Deer Park. These fawns/cubs are reared with utmost care by the staff under the observation of the Veterinary Doctor.
A three months old Black Bear cub was rescued from the Kishtwar area, which had severe eye injury, the veterinary doctor had no other choice but to remove the eye and prevent the cub from further infection and compliactions. The badly damaged eye was removed and the cub was kept under observation, the cub responded to the treatment and is today three years old. The Black Bear cub has been named as “Gabbru”.
The animals in Manda Deer Park do fall sick, the treatment is given to the animals and as such there has been no epidemics in thePark because of the cleanliness of the enclosures and regular monitoring of the animals kept in the Deer Park. At times the animals do get injured during fights in the Deer Park, however the treatment to these animals is given spontaneously.
For the last few years there are complaints of the birds getting entangled in the “Manja thread” especially the “Chinese nylon kite thread” used during the kite festival. The birds like eagles, pigeons, crows etc. get entangled to these threads and gets badly injured. The Wildlife Department receives number of complaints regarding the birds being entangled with this thread on the tree tops. The department have rescued number of such birds, treated and released back. But sometimes these birds gets killed before they are rescued.Therefore, it is requested that one should not use Chinese Manja for kite flying as it is a threat to birds and humans also.
Even the lesser known but endangered mammals like Pangolins have been rescued, treated and released back in the wild/forest area. The reptiles like black cobrawhich once got glued to the melted coal tar (black top of the road) because of the hot summer and the other spectacled cobra to the rat catching glue board were rescued and cleaned off the black top and glue from their bodies and were released back into the forest areas.
As the challenges of Human Animal Conflict is rising day by day, the Department is also equipping its self with all the latest technologies to deal with these challenges and to provide the injured wild animals with the best available treatment. The Veterinary Section of the Manda Deer Park has an Operation Theatre equipped with the tranquilizing equipment’s like Dan inject gun/Jab stick and drugs, microscopes, x-ray, incubators, sterilizers, catch poles, squeeze cages, contactless infrared thermometer etc. And the chemicals for the detection of Haemo-protozoa, kits to detect the T.B, Brucellosis, Johne’s diseases have beenordered. The Wildlife Department rescue team is also equipped with the rescue van, telescopic ladder to reach 40 feet high tree tops, telescopic saw, tongs, high beam torches etc. for the rescue operations.
According to Suresh K. Gupta (IFS), Chief Wildlife Warden, J&K Govt, the Wildlife Wardens of each wildlife division have been directedto upgrade the Rescue facilities in their respective divisions, so that the animals with minor injuries can be treated there itself with the help of local veterinary doctors and only those wild animals having major/grievous injuries be brought to Manda Deer Park as the transportation is in itself a stress for the animals.
The Father of the Nation,Mahatma Gandhi says, “The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated”. And as per the Directive Principles of the State Policy, Article 48A, “the State should protect and improve the environment and safeguard the forests and wild life of the country. This directive, regarding protection of forests and wildlife was added by the 42nd Amendment Act, 1976.And it is the fundamental duty of every citizen to preserve natural environment. The wildlife is an important and integral part of the natural environment, therefore it is our duty to protect the wildlife and inform the concerned authorities whenever or wherever one finds an injured wild animal, so that the wildlife department can take immediate steps to save the injured wild animal. Therefore,”Help us to conserve and preserve the wildlife for the future generations”.
(The author is Assistant Conservator of Forest (Wildlife))