Category: wildlife rehabilitation


In December 2020, the police rescued two Eurasian collared doves (Streptopelia decaocto) from illegal pet traders and brought them to the WRRC (Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre) in Bangalore, India.

First they were temporarily put into a cage, then moved to an aviary.

Fortunately, their feathers had not been clipped by the pet traders. If their feathers had been clipped, the recovery time would have taken much longer and been more difficult since the birds would have had to molt and then regrow their feathers.

In this case, since the feathers were intact, both had good flight, were active, and flew about with ease in the large aviary in which they were housed.

This lovely pair of doves had narrowly escaped having to spend their whole lives in captivity. Thanks to quick action by the police and the excellent care they received at the WRRC, their lives will be happy ones, spent in freedom in the wild.

After two months both were released together at the center since their species can be found in the forests nearby. They can still be heard, not far away, with their distinct vocalizations.

Photo credit: WRRC

© Forest Voices of India, 2021

An adult Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) was rescued and brought from the village adjoining the forest, close to the WRRC center.

Somehow his leg had been broken. Some of the villagers tried their best for quite some time to catch him, but he always managed to slip away from them. Unfortunately, by the time they were able to catch him and bring him in for treatment, the leg had deteriorated so much that it had to be amputated, which was done by Dr. Roopa Satish and her team. He soon recovered and was able to get around well with just one leg.

His flying ability was good, and he was doing really well. However, he was still a handicapped bird, and it wouldn’t be safe for him to be released deep in the forest. So, he was released at the WRRC center itself where he can choose to make little forays into the nearby forest or spend his days in the area of the center itself. This is a much safer life for him. He is very comfortable there, sleeping in any one of the treetops, or watching the activities of the center from a front row perch on a roof – or, as Dr. Roopa writes, “occasionally coming down to earth to grace us with his beautiful plumage.”

Photo credit: WRRC

In September of 2020, a juvenile spot-billed pelican (Pelicanus phillipensis) was rescued from a home in the city of Bangalore and brought to the WRRC (the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre, in Bangalore, India).

When she arrived, she was shy around people and also aggressive, as a wild bird would normally be. She wasn’t yet able to fly. She wasn’t feeling well, was not eating, and seemed to have an infection, so she was treated for this and was handfed.

Dr. Roopa Satish and the caregivers realized that, probably, the pelican was from one of the city lakes and had been kidnapped, possibly to be used for meat. Fortunately, she had been rescued by a good Samaritan, who understood just where to take her and brought her to the WRRC so she could receive expert care.

Learning to fly

Before long, she was able to eat on her own and was beginning to flap her wings, lift herself into the air, and exercise her flight muscles. Soon, she was put into a larger aviary where she had a wonderful time learning to fly. After a few months though, she could fly so well that the aviary became too small for her. She was brushing her wings against the sides in flight and risking hurting herself, so she really needed to be released right away.

This was a dilemma though because there were no pelicans flying in the immediate vicinity in the Bannerghatta Forest and the city lakes were not pleasant or safe release sites due to the high volume of human activity – fishing, boating, strolling, and bird watching. They weren’t a good place for a wild bird to be.

A place of refuge

In February, 2021, the pelican was driven 180 kilometers (50 miles) to a very special village, Kokkrebelluru, which is filled with birds. The people there love the birds and even sing songs to welcome them back after their migration. Nearby there are large, clean, beautiful lakes – good places for pelicans to catch fish. There are many other species of birds, such as painted storks, ibis, and Brahminy kites. The local villagers protect the birds, so they feel at home there, and they build hundreds of nests in the surrounding trees.

This was the perfect place for the pelican. She was released there at a research center for pelicans set up by the Forest Department and overseen by a pelican researcher.

They will keep an eye on her as she learns to fish for herself and will give some supplemental feeding if it is needed. When she’s fully ready, she’ll be able to live her life free in the wild, in a beautiful, safe, protected spot of great beauty. She’ll make new friends and will be able to migrate and return again to this idyllic place, living her life in freedom as nature intended.

Thanks to thoughtful person who rescued her, the expert care given by the WRRC team, and the help of the research center and the kind villagers of Kokkrebelluru, the pelican who very nearly became dinner is now all set to have a bright and happy future.


Photo credit: WRRC

The two-week old chicks were found on the ground by a kind person. They must have tumbled out of their nest, which was too high up for them to be returned to it.

Last May, right in the middle of the pandemic, they were brought from the city of Bangalore in south India to the nearby Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre.

In spite of it being summer, the little Indian mynas needed to be kept very warm, because small chicks cannot regulate their own temperature. They are dependent on the warmth of their parents, so when they have been orphaned, they need extra warmth. They were put into a very cozy basket so they could cuddle together and were monitored carefully. In the beginning they were handfed. Nestlings need to be fed much more frequently and much greater quantities of food than anyone could imagine. In the wild, this keeps both their parents very busy. Slowly, these chicks started to learn to feed on their own. And, after a while, when they were self-feeding and had grown a bit bigger so they could regulate their own temperature and stay warm enough, they were moved into a slightly larger cage.

Three months later they were moved into an aviary which had double mesh protection to guard against wild predators who might visit at night. Here they began to get practice flying, preparing for their next stage of life and their journey to freedom.

A few months later, they were moved again into a big aviary much like their natural habitat – filled with trees and branches, mud, and there were lots of insects there that they could catch, since insects are their natural diet.

Mynas are native to several Asian countries, including India. Unfortunately, they have been often been captured for the pet trade and subsequently released into the wild into habitats where they do not belong, in countries where they do not naturally exist. Of course, this is not the birds’ fault. Birds should never be captured and taken from the wild, unless they are orphaned or injured and in need of rehabilitation by a trained wildlife rehabilitator, followed by release back to the wild.

After nine months, these beautiful mynas, now strong and healthy, were released at the WRRC center where they are free to come and go as they please at the center itself or in the adjoining woodlands. Now they can live their lives happily in the natural habitat where they are meant to be. Dr. Roopa Satish, the WRRC licensed wildlife rehabilitator, writes, “They love to check up on us from time to time.”

*****

Forest Voices of India

– conducts charitable fundraising services for environmental charities, especially in India.

WRRC – The Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre,
Bangalore, India

– is licensed to treat and release back to the wild – birds, deer, monkeys, and other orphaned or injured wildlife.

– provides education and greater understanding that benefits forests, wildlife, and wildlife habitat.

How you can help

Click on the donate button and choose WRRC. Another great way to help is to send this link to a friend.

Bless you! Thank you for helping our wild friends!

© Forest Voices of India, 2021

Photo credits © WRRC, 2021

Indian rock python

Last year police officers in Karnataka, in south India, learned that ten terrapins and two turtles were being kept at a temple where they were being fed by devotees. It was kind of people to feed them, but sadly, they weren’t being given the right food. To make matters worse, they could never quite relax, because, like any shy wild creature in the presence of humans, they felt constantly on guard, so they were always stressed and never felt at home.

This past December, 2020, as soon as the officers learned that these animals were being kept at the temple, they stopped by to see firsthand what the situation was. They found ten Indian pond terrapins and two flapshell turtles that were living in cramped conditions, all in the same tank in the temple.

Normally, turtles and terrapins really love basking on top of rocks, where they can stretch out in the sun, but these animals had no rocks for basking. The temple authorities meant well, but they hadn’t realized that these animals really needed to be back in the wild. Both terrapins and turtles like to spend some time out of the water, terrapins even more than turtles. Both belong to the order chelonia.

Needing proper care

When the officers talked with the temple authorities, pointing out all the things that the terrapins and turtles actually needed to be happy, the authorities were very responsive. They immediately agreed with the officers that the turtles and terrapins should go to a facility where they could be rehabilitated and then released to live back in the wild.

On December 23 the officers took the animals to the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre in Karnataka. The veterinarian there, Dr. Roopa Satish, carried out a thorough physical examination as soon as the animals arrived. Then they were put into an enclosure with clean water, a basking area, sunlight, and given a lovely dinner of fresh food.

Soon, with good care, their demeanor changed dramatically. They became very active, swimming about happily, feeding ravenously, and basking away to their heart’s content. Just being given the few things that they needed made a huge difference.

They were kept under observation for three weeks to be sure they were doing well, then government permission was obtained for their release, and they were all sent off together to live in a clean pond inside a protected forest where no fishing or any other human activity is carried out. At last, they could feel safe in their new home.

Back free in the wild

Thanks to the kind efforts of the police officers and the quick understanding of the temple authorities, the terrapins and turtles were able to get a new start in life.

And thanks to the good care and expertise of Dr. Roopa and the caregivers at WRRC, these innocent animals will be able to enjoy the rest of their lives living in the forest in peace, free, and glad to be back in the wild once again.

A python too

Also on the same day, on December 23, 2020, an adult Indian rock python was brought in to the WRRC. In the U.S., unfortunately, we often think of the python as an invasive species which is causing havoc with the local wildlife in the Everglades. Through no fault of their own, pythons have been imported into the U.S. to be sold as pets and then, when they get too big, are released in the wrong place, where they don’t belong. Of course, they’re not meant to be pets, and they’re not meant to be living out in the wild in the U.S. either. It’s good to remind ourselves that the python is really a natural animal that should be left in the wild – in its native habitat in India or in other parts of south Asia.

Fishing nets can be a big problem

This adult Indian rock python that was brought in December to the WRRC was in a lot of distress. She’d gotten caught up in a net, with her head and jaw all tightly wrapped up so she couldn’t move. Fishing nets can cause a lot of harm to wildlife. It’s easy to get tangled up in them.

Dr. Roopa, with the help of one of the caregivers, restrained and sedated her, and, working really carefully, she cut away the fishing net. Eventually, the python was completely free of the net, which must have been a great relief to her. She wasn’t injured, just really stressed. She was rehydrated because they were not sure how long she had been stuck in the net and hence unable to feed. Once she was free of the net, she was able to move around easily. Pain killer injections were given to her, and she was left to recover in a quiet, secluded enclosure.

Captivity itself is stressful for wild creatures. The python didn’t really feel much like eating, and so she refused to eat any food. After three weeks of observation to be sure she was all right, she was taken back out to the forest, to a lovely peaceful spot where there is no human activity like fishing or washing. Immediately, she felt a lot livelier. She curled herself around a tree – looking out through the leaves at her surroundings with curiosity, all ready to take up her life again in a safe wilderness, in the beauty of the forest.

All wild animals have an important role to play ensuring the balance of nature. They all need protection from human activity that can cause them harm and a chance to live out their lives in the wild, as nature intends.

It takes special training and knowledge to rehabilitate wildlife, and it’s an essential activity — not just for the animals themselves, but also for the whole ecosystem – and for the wellbeing of the earth herself.

Forest Voices of India
– conducts charitable fundraising services for environmental charities, especially in India.
WRRC – The Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre,
Bangalore, India
– is licensed to treat and release back to the wild – birds, deer, monkeys, and other orphaned or injured wildlife.
– provides education and greater understanding that benefits forests, wildlife, and wildlife habitat.
How you can help
Click on the donate button and choose WRRC. Another great way to help is to send this link to a friend.
Bless you! Thank you for helping our wild friends!

© Forest Voices of India, 2021

Photo credit

© Indian rock python, after release, WRRC, 2021