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Musuni Letura, Kenyan wildlife expert and friend of Forest Voices of India, has created this video of the annual migration of the wildebeests and the zebras – the largest, or one of the largest, animal migrations on earth. It is an amazing sight. Please enjoy watching!

Photo 49692836 / Spotted Deer © Volodymyr Byrdyak | Dreamstime.com

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Photo 49692836 / Spotted Deer © Volodymyr Byrdyak | Dreamstime.com
The photo is of another spotted deer.

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Early in July, a young male spotted deer was rushed to the WRRC (Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre) in Karnataka, in south India.

The young deer arrived in very bad shape, having been attacked by dogs. He had been rescued by kind people who found him near the city of Doddaballapur, an industrial city just north of Bangalore. Seeing that he was badly hurt, they knew he needed to go to the WRRC to receive urgent care.

When he arrived, suffering from many bite wounds, he was treated under general anesthesia. However, he experienced huge blood loss caused by the wounds, and this slowed down his recovery from the anesthesia.

It was only due to the skill of Dr. Roopa Satish and her assistants that they were able to save him.

They gave him intravenous fluids and other emergency medications to stabilize and revive him. Unfortunately, all this happened at a time when the weather was cooler than normal and there had been a lot of continuous rain. This cool spell reduced the body temperature of the deer, and he was in grave danger of hyperthermia. They placed an infrared lamp close by to raise his body temperature.

Fortunately, after sundown, after about four hours, he began to regain consciousness, but he was still too weak to stand up. They were greatly relieved though to see that he was awake.

Dr. Roopa and his caregivers changed his position and made him comfortable for the night.

Night near the forest

The WRRC Rehabilitation Centre is located in a very beautiful wild forest called the Bannergatta Forest. It’s quite a large center with very sturdy enclosures, and the whole area is enclosed too, so there is no danger from forest wildlife that wander by during the night. That night was no exception. The deer, who was a newcomer, had attracted the attention of wild leopards who had walked around not far from his enclosure. However, they couldn’t get too close, and the deer remained unaware of them. The leopards left their footprints in the earth that could be seen in the morning.

During the night, the young deer had started to feel much better – well enough to get up, walk around, munch on some green grass, and drink loads of water. Noticing all this in the morning, Dr. Roopa and her assistants were happy. For the first time, they were able to feel that he would survive and be okay.

Dr. Roopa writes, “After a week today, he is much stronger, hates his injections and resists any antiseptic sprays we try to spray on his wounds. He is a very chill and calm deer unlike a wild one.”

The deer had been taken out of the wild

Normally a wild deer would be highly nervous and stressed by the presence of humans. “But,” Dr. Roopa writes, “this fellow may have been handreared by humans, losing his instinctual fear of humans and dogs and so was not alarmed by dogs which chased and bit him viciously.” Being raised in captivity had caused his life to get off to a really bad start.

Something had gone terribly wrong at the beginning of this young deer’s life.

It’s not certain exactly what caused this young deer to be in captivity, but what sometimes happens with young fawns is that people come across them where they have been left to wait for their mother who will return to feed them. Not knowing that it is normal for the fawn to be alone for a few hours, people try to “rescue” them. The poor fawns end up being held for some time in captivity – where they cannot develop the skills they need for life in the wild. Then they are subject to hazards, like dog attacks.

Expected to be okay

“Now,” Dr. Roopa explains, “we will have to slowly make him wild and shy again by not interacting with him, keeping him apart from humans, and giving him his complete privacy. Slowly over a long period of time he should get the message that he is a wild creature unlike humans and that he cannot approach or trust humans or any other animal. This could take from six months to up to two years. Hopefully, we we will be successful in rehabilitating him back in the wild where all wild animals belong.”

Thank goodness, the deer was brought to the WRRC, where he can receive appropriate care.

If only the first people who came across him when he was found initially had known in the beginning to call and seek assistance from the WRRC, his story might have had a much happier start. They could have left him where he was, waiting for his mother, as was normal.

However, thanks to the expert care that he will receive now, he stands a good chance to recover completely, to be able to gain all the skills he’ll need to live back out in the forest.

Saving many thousands

Whatever country you live in, if you ever come across a very young deer, please contact a licensed wildlife center before trying to help. In many cases, a young fawn is just waiting for his mother and may not need help at all.

Because of their extensive expertise and training, Dr. Roopa and all the caregivers at the WRRC are able to save the lives of many thousands of injured wild creatures.

The WRRC is an amazing place of healing for wild animals.

Assuming all goes well, the young deer will, when he is ready and equipped with good survival skills, be released to live a life of freedom, among the trees, birds, and streams, at peace in the beauty of Bannergatta Forest.

How you can help

If you’d like to help give a young deer or another animal a new chance at life, please look for the donate button, above on the upper right! Thank you!

By Padmasandhya Srikanth

It was the seventh and final visit by the Mobile Hospital (MoHo). Shero was back in the game as he caught the ball mid-air. Only a few weeks ago this had seemed impossible.

It all began when Shero set out to play with the young humans on a fine summer evening. The sun and her orange wings made way for the calm allure of the full moon. The birds serenaded their lovers with a sweet spring melody. Children spilled into the streets of Adambakkam, armed with cricket bats and makeshift cricket stumps. It was time for Shero to join them. He loved to run after the ball and fetch it. He was an integral part of the playing twelve!

As he galloped eagerly to the playground, he stopped, only for a moment, to admire a feathered friend settled on a tamarind tree. Before he even knew what had happened, he blacked out. A motor vehicle had hit him.

Shero was hurt, and he had a difficult few days. He crawled under a car where he felt safer.

Just when he was about to give up, he saw his favorite human, Varghese, drop to his knees and peer under the car. He was going to be saved!

In a few hours, Blue Cross of India’s spanking new Hospital-on-Wheels arrived. Dr. Silambarasan looked grim when he saw Shero’s leg. He was given several injections to combat an infection.

Mr. Ramachandran drove the Hospital-on-Wheels regularly to Adambakkam along with Dr. Silambarasan and Dr. Naveenkumar till Shero’s wounds healed completely! The Hospital-on-Wheels was donated to Blue Cross by the Austrian organization, Vier Pfoten, or Four Paws, who do outstanding rescue work in many countries. The MoHo, as it is called, is enabling Blue Cross to provide top-notch care to animals right where they are, without having to transport them back and forth to the Blue cross shelter, away from their neighborhoods. This makes a tremendous difference to the well-being of the dogs and other animals being treated.

Caring for Shero was a long recovery process, spanning over seven visits of the MoHo. Each time, Shero showed improvement. First the infection was curtailed. Then, the wounds healed. Slowly, he started using his leg again.

Today, Shero is happily a member of the playing twelve again! He is back in action. And just like so many other street dogs, he has learned to be extra aware of potential dangers. Safer now that he is extra cautious, he loves running and playing!

Street dogs develop uncanny abilities to navigate their surroundings safely and to live out their lives in freedom. There are many, many millions of street dogs in India. It has never been part of Indian culture to kill or to harm them.

While it can be a bit of a rough life, their life has many joys as well – including the freedom to run and play.

They are not adapted to living indoors – either in a home or in a shelter, and as long as they are spayed/neutered and given all their shots, they are well adapted to living their lives in the neighborhoods where they live. They can live on well into old age and enjoy their lives – among their friends and playmates, both animal and human.

The healing of Shero is a testimony to the number of lives the MoHo has helped save. Just two months since the inauguration of the mobile hospital, and we have been able to save so many like Shero!

Shero has barked the good word to his friends about the MoHo, which is here to serve them!

Photos: Velu TM

Rajaji National Park, Uttarakhand

Bird of the Day: Stork-billed Kingfisher — Organikos

By Keerthana Nithyakumar

“Oh, my God! Is that Brook? I couldn’t recognize him. Look at his gorgeous fur!” one of the Blue Cross volunteers exclaimed while all heads turned to admire the transformation of Brook, the once mange-infected dog.

You could see the look of pure joy and satisfaction on the volunteers’ faces. Indeed, nothing matches the moment of witnessing the result of a job well done!

Flashback to a few weeks ago when the same volunteers met Brook and his friends for the first time, things were polar opposite. With patches of hair loss exposing his skin, he looked uncomfortable.

The volunteers jumped into action with an unspoken single-minded resolve. While one gently caught hold of the startled dog and comforted him, the other started bathing him with medicinal shampoos. This way, like clockwork, the purpose-driven volunteers started treating the mange-infected dogs, one at a time, with utmost gentleness and compassion.

While a few of the dogs were happy to bask in the attention and care of the volunteers, most of them, who seemed traumatized, came around in their own time. Pacified, bathed, nourished, and cared for, all they needed was time, the great healer, to make the real magic happen. As the days filled with diligent efforts and patience rolled by, the progress was so subtle that everyone was happily startled that day when Brook pounced on the gates, anticipating the arrival of volunteers to show off his sprouting fur, visibly blossoming into a new life inside out!

Sadly, mange is a skin disease common in street dogs and puppies, caused by malnutrition and the stress of street life. They all appear beyond hope, but as we have witnessed in the many miracle dog stories like Brook, even serious cases can be treated effectively.

This is not just wishful thinking but the firsthand experience of Blue Cross, India’s largest animal welfare organization, located in Chennai, in the south of India. And with the dedicated caregivers and diligent volunteers by their side, Blue Cross of India is working to create a better life for these fur angels, one Brook at a time!

Photo: Velu TM, Blue Cross of India

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Bird of the Day: Ruddy Shelduck — Organikos

Kothli Hills, Uttarakhand

Bird of the Day: Yellow-breasted Greenfinch — Organikos