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Bird of the Day: Hair-crested Drongo — Organikos

6 months after the Kaziranga trip, I started reading about the birds of India. I was very surprised to learn that we had more than 1,200 species across the country. I ventured out a bit, driving around Bannerghatta National Park and Hesarghatta Lake. Photographing birds isn’t as easy as one would think. They are flighty […]

Stories from the Field: The Great Rann of Kutch, Gujurat — Organikos

Read part one here. Day 2: Tumling The first thing I did when the alarm went off was to part the curtain to take a peek outside. And a large “nothing to see here” sign met me. I couldn’t tell whether it was foggy or just dark, for the human eyes, so effective at discrimination […]

Finding Shangri-La in Singalila – Part Two — TIGGA TALES

Photo credit: Velu

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By Tyag Krishnamurthy

Isha is a sweet girl of about five. She now runs around with a sprightliness that would put a ballet dancer to shame. But she wasn’t this way when she was picked up a couple of months back by Blue Cross of India Rescues from the outskirts of Chennai.

She had a hernia the size of a soccer ball in her lower abdomen and could barely walk and was in great pain and discomfort. A complex surgery was done immediately to fix the hernia. After that it was a long haul – a month of post-operative care. Isha regained her strength steadily, amazing the caregivers with her ability to bounce back.

With every week, Isha grew in strength and has almost transformed into a brand new healthy, happy dog; no longer in pain or discomfort, always up for a cuddle, and enjoys a nice snooze in anyone’s arms.

From the Blue Cross of India newsletter Q4 2022
https://www.bluecrossofindia.org/blog/

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During 2022, Blue Cross of India rescued 11,000 animals,
spayed or neutered nearly 8,000 city dogs and cats and rehomed nearly 2,000 animals.

To help Blue Cross save even more animals, click on the donate button in the upper right. You can specify that you’d like your donation to go to Blue Cross! Many thanks!

Savalsang Grassland, Karnataka

Bird of the Day: Green Bee-eater — Organikos

Tumkur is a city in south India about an hour north of Bangaluru. There, on September 19, 2022, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) forest cell rescued a large Bengal monitor lizard from poachers. (The photo above is of a different Bengal monitor lizard.)

Dr Roopa Satish, of the WRRC (Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre) writes that when poachers tie these beautiful lizards tightly with nylon ropes, the blood circulation is often cut off. Then they may become handicapped and unable to move their limbs. Of course, they can only be released if they can get their limb movement back.

Weighing 4.3 kilos or nearly 10 pounds, the large monitor was thoroughly examined. He had a few wounds and one missing claw. All the wounds were cleaned and dressed and his limbs were gently messaged to restore circulation. He was rehydrated with sub cutaneous fluids, given a shot for pain and also given antibiotics.

He was housed in a large enclosure and given food and water. The big enclosure offered a lot of hiding spaces and space for basking so that he could be comfortable. Because of his size and weight, he was believed to be a male.

As it is for any wild creature, being in captivity was stressful. He was kept in a calm, quiet place away from any human disturbance, so that he would have a chance to rest, to promote his healing and recovery.

Soon, he was feeling much livelier — able to spring into action and to make aggressive sounds when approached. He loved his food and was definitely feeling better.

After a week or so of being under observation in order to rule out any infection, he was taken to a safe protected forest area and released in the presence of forest officials.

Now once again back where he belongs, he is enjoying his freedom in his forest domain.

Photo credit: A.Savin, FAL, via Wikimedia Commons. The photo is of a different Bengal monitor lizard, not the one in the story.

A couple of years back, the Jigni area on the outskirts of the large south Indian city, Bangaluru, was a field where a kind of millet was grown. Now, it has been developed and is filled with homes. On November 29, of this year, a spectacled cobra was spotted who had accidentally entered a family’s house.

The people who lived there were startled by the cobra, and they called a snake catcher to come and catch him.

Sadly, the snake catcher had no experience catching snakes, and he was way out of his depth. He had bought some snake tongs on the internet. Catching snakes is an activity that requires a great deal of knowledge and years of experience. Without meaning to, he injured the snake by clamping down too hard. Hurt and in pain, the snake became aggressive. Afraid and not knowing what to do, the inexperienced snake catcher let go of the snake, leaving the tongs still attached to the snake.

This time the family called an experienced snake catcher, who arrived within an hour, safely removed the tongs, and rescued the cobra. He also took the time to educate everyone present not to use the wrong tools, like the tongs, which are very painful to snakes. He then, in the middle of the night, brought the injured cobra to be cared for at the WRRC center in Bangaluru (the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre), where all kinds of wildlife in distress are treated with great kindness and expertise.

Dr. Roopa Satish, the Chief Wildlife Rehabilitator, examined the cobra that weighed 740 grams, about one and a half pounds.

Luckily, there were no spinal injuries. The cobra was given pain killers and fluids, and the wound was thoroughly cleaned and dressed.

He was moved into a clean vivarium with a bowl of fresh water and a heating pad and left in peace and quiet to recover.

Happily, within two days, the cobra had much improved and began looking for a way to escape from his vivarium.

All animals, whether wild or domestic, are, by nature, innocent. They defend themselves if attacked and, of course, they seek food to eat. But they do not act out of malice or viciousness.

Once the relevant Forest Department permissions are obtained, the cobra will be released in the second week of December in a good habitat away from both people and housing developments.

Thanks to human beings who cared, he’ll be free to enjoy the rest of his life in a suitable wild area, as nature intended.

Photo credit: Kamalnv, CC BY 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons The photo is of a different cobra.

© Copyright Forest Voices of India, 2022

On the night of July 6, 2022, a young spotted owl lost her footing and tumbled from a tree in Bangaluru, a big city in south India. Perhaps she had been startled by a group of songbirds that sometimes harass these small owls at twilight.

This was in the Basavanagudi section of the city, an old, very charming area with beautiful temples and colorful markets. Passersby, seeing her fall and remain lying on the ground, rushed to her rescue. She didn’t seem to be able to get up by herself and looked like she needed help.

One of these good samaritans knew just where to take her. They picked her up very carefully and rushed her to the WRRC – the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre. The well-known wildlife center is located in Bannerghatta Forest, south of Bangaluru.

When they arrived, the little owl, just eight inches in height, was turned over to Dr. Roopa Satish, the Chief Veterinarian and Wildlife Rehabilitator and her capable assistants. They take care of hundreds of orphaned and injured wildlife every year, with the goal of releasing them back to the wild.

They noted immediately that she was a juvenile with her soft, fluffy, downy feathers still present. She was stressed, dehydrated, and no doubt wondering what was happening to her. She weighed 100 grams. Dr. Roopa examined her very thoroughly, noting that her right wing had an injury. There were no broken bones, but she had fallen from a great height and that could result in organ damage. She might have internal trauma.

For fifteen days, she was on medications, kept warm with heating pads, and handfed in order to coax her to start feeding on her own.

Since owls are nocturnal, she was fed in the evening. During the day, she was left completely undisturbed, in complete darkness and quiet – to have a chance to recover in peace.

She improved markedly, and within a month after arrival, she was much brighter. Her wing wound had healed, her appetite was good, and she was eating on her own, which was a joy to see.

Moved to a larger aviary, she was able to begin to practice flying again.

Her caregivers had made sure that she had a lot of hiding spaces so she could be completely hidden during the daytime, only coming out during the night. She was so well hidden that sometimes they even wondered if she might have escaped. But the presence of down feathers shed on the floor and her empty plate of food were clear signs that she was right there and doing well.

In the fall, as was normal, there were continuous heavy rains, so she couldn’t be released just yet.

Finally, on the night of December 1, 2022, she was released in the presence of the forest officials who had been specially invited to come to the center at dusk to witness the release.

She flew up vertically, effortlessly taking off like helicopter from the basket, which was placed on the ground, and disappeared into the fading light.

An innocent being gone back to the wild, thanks to the caring and expertise of the WRRC, and the wide circle of those who help in so many ways.

Photo credit: Photo 32814694 / Spotted Owlet © Panuruangjan | Dreamstime.com. This is another spotted owl.

© Copyright Forest Voices of India, 2022

Savalsang Grassland, Vijayapura

Bird of the Day: Purple Sunbird  — Organikos