Wildlife Trust of India

Conserve nature, especially endangered species and threatened habitats, in partnership with communities and governments.
Sep 16, 2016

Bandipur Tiger Reserve: Mobile Veterinary Service

White breasted kingfisher
White breasted kingfisher

The MVS clinics function under the concept that animals estranged from their natural habitat, either due to human interference or by accident, must be given every chance to return to their natural habitat. Veterinarians not only attend to such wildlife emergencies but also have alleviate stress and improve welfare aspects of the displaced wildlife. This importance of a veterinarian in rescue, conservation and mitigation of conflicts has given rise to the need for establishment of Mobile veterinary service (MVS) units.

          Following is the report on the activities done by the MVS unit in the month of July 2016:

A.  Wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and conflict mitigation

Several birds were brought in to the MVS unit for care and treatment, which included a young white breasted kingfisher, four mynahs, two Koel (a male and a female with vehicle injuries) and a common hawk cuckoo (Figure 1). The mynahs are still under care while one Koel and the cuckoo were released. The kingfisher and one Koel died due to their injuries. Apart from these the team also handled one Indian pond terrapin which was being sold in the local market for pets (figure 2). The team confiscated the terrapin and released in the nearby lake.

B.  Disease investigation

The MVS team assisted in the post mortem investigation of three elephants that were found dead in Nagerhole Tiger Reserve. An examination of the carcasses which were severely putrefied indicated death by natural causes. Samples were collected and sent to the Crime Branch in Mysore for further forensic analysis. One elephant of the three was found with a missing tusk. After an extensive search and investigation, the missing tusk was traced to a village nearby and the person responsible was arrested.

Two leopards were found dead due to poisoning in the periphery of Bandipur. One of the leopards was a rare black variant (melanistic form) (figure 3).  The MVS Unit was called in along with the Forest Department to ensure a thorough investigation. The investigation resulted in the arrest of a villager from Hanchipura Village who confessed to the killings by intentional poisoning.

The MVS Unit was called out on a tiger postmortem towards the end of July where an 8-month old tiger cub was found dead due to starvation (figure 4). An analysis of previous camera trap data indicated that she was one of three cubs and may have become separated from the mother and her siblings.

C.  Captive animal care

Captive elephants: The MVS Veterinarian attended a 10-day course on captive elephant medicine and health care. Following the rescue of the circus elephants being held in Srirangapatna, the MOEF decided to form a committee on elephant welfare for separate districts of the state of Karnataka. The MVS Veterinarian has now been placed on the committee governing the welfare of the elephants present in the Chamarajanagar district, including Bandipur and Nagarhole.

D.  Awareness and outreach

The Karnataka Forest Department along with the Wildlife Trust of India conducted an event on account of it being International Tiger Day. Several children from a number of schools attended the event which was presided over by the Conservator of Forests, Bandipur, Mr. Hiralal, and featured the presence of the Cooperative Minister, Mr. Mahadeva Prasad, as a chief guest. A few presentations were conducted by the Forest Department, along with WTI Staff and other allied NGOs. All the students invited come from fringe villages with very high human animal conflict. After the brief presentation and discussion, the school children assisted the forest department staff in a brief cleaning drive of the Bandipur campus, shown a documentary on tigers and participated in a drawing competition through the Animal Action Education campaign of International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Wildlife Trust of India (WTI). Towards the end of the program they were taken to a Safari to the National Park and given copies of ‘Pranigalu’ a book on wildlife in Kannada.

E.   Plan for next month

The team will continue to carry out normal activity, attending to wildlife emergencies and conducting disease investigations. We have targeted several schools in the periphery where we will be holding short talks and presentations, as well as be handing over educational tools to teachers to raise awareness in children from conflict torn villages.

Indian pond terrapin
Indian pond terrapin
Carcasses of two leopards
Carcasses of two leopards
Carcass of a young tiger
Carcass of a young tiger
Elephant being readied for an X-ray
Elephant being readied for an X-ray
MVS vet taking the temperature
MVS vet taking the temperature
School children during the event
School children during the event
Children during the cleaning drive
Children during the cleaning drive
Presentation by the forest department
Presentation by the forest department
One of the entries in the drawing competition
One of the entries in the drawing competition
Sep 16, 2016

Wildlife Crime Prevention Training

Training
Training

 

Udanti-Sitanadi Tiger Reserve, Chhattisgarh, August 16, 2016: As part of the continuing efforts under its Van Rakshak Project to train, equip and boost the morale of frontline forest staff across the country, Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), in partnership with the Chhattisgarh Forest Department, conducted a three-day training programme for the staff of Udanti-Sitanadi Tiger Reserve from August 10 to 12, 2016.

 

The programme was inaugurated by Mr V Reddy, the Deputy Director of Udanti-Sitanadi and attended by 46 frontline personnel from across eight ranges of the tiger reserve. The curriculum included legal and biological aspects of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, as well as wildlife crime prevention components such as the basics of wildlife biology, tracks and signs, anti-poaching patrolling techniques, intelligence gathering, search and seizure, interrogation, crime scene investigation and the preparation of Preliminary Offence Reports. A dedicated field day ensured that trainees received a hands-on exposure to the investigative aspects of the training. Trainees were also briefed on relevant provisions of the Indian Evidence Act, Indian Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Proceedings, and the powers conferred on them therein for the prosecution of wildlife crimes.

 

The purpose of the training was to ensure that forest staff received both wide angle and specific perspectives on the investigative and the legal aspects of wildlife crime, with close attention paid to proper case documentation and appropriate legal procedures. Trainees were evaluated on the basis of a test conducted before and after the programme; field kits were distributed to trainees who passed this evaluation.

WTI has been conducting such Wildlife Crime Prevention Training programmes under its Van Rakshak Project (VRP) since 2001. Over 16,000 frontline forest personnel have been trained in over 138 protected areas across 14 states. VRP follows a multi-pronged strategy with four thrust areas abbreviated as TEAM: Training, Equipping, Awareness and Morale Boosting, to build capacity and strengthen spirits of personnel in tough field conditions. 

 

Jun 10, 2016

Elephant cataract surgery

Would you?
Would you?

Hello,

Our team is in touch with the veterinarian who specilaises in elephant cataract surgeries, the elephant owners and also the state forest department officials. There is positive feedback from all stakeholder to initiate the project. We are however a little short on funds on our GlobalGiving  campaign to initiate work yet. We hope with your help and our own efforts we can reach a minimum amount so we may atleast begin with the surgery for the first two elephants. We shall keep you updated on any progress ofcourse. We realise it is not as easy to raise funds for animal welfare projects but we know there are many people like you who believe in our vision and that gives us not only hope but also great encouragement!

 

Regards

Radhika Bhagat

Head Wild Aid

Wildlife Trust of India

 
   

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