Category: wildlife rescue


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

A Great Indian fruit bat in the wild

Over two years ago, in April of 2020, two Giant Indian Fruit Bats were rescued from Bangaluru City, in south India, and brought to the WRRC (Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre).

Both are males that weighed 390 grams and 410 grams (nearly one pound each).

The Covid 19 pandemic had just begun, and sadly, along with it, came false rumors that the disease was being spread by bats.

Worldwide, some people responded with cruelty toward bats. Bats are, of course, beneficial to the natural world, not harmful.

One of the bats had been kept, inappropriately, as a pet, but was promptly released with the advent of covid.

The other bat was wild and had been attacked and injured by people who mistakenly thought that bats can cause covid.

Both bats were left injured. They have irreversible wing injuries and are unable to fly, so they cannot be released back to the wild.

They are quiet, shy creatures who enjoy hiding in safe places. Dr. Roopa Satish, the Head Wildlife Rehabilitator, along with the staff of the WRRC have created a number of special safe hiding places for them. They are housed together and have become good friends.

They are given a wide variety of fruit, which they really enjoy. Their time is spent watching the activity in the forest and in the sky, of birds and other wild creatures.

In the wild, fruit bats are very social animals that enjoy living together in large social groups. They sleep during the day and wake up at twilight to begin to fly in search of food. An amazing sight to watch as they soar past the trees with their huge wings stretched out; their wing span is about five feet.

Like mammals generally, fruit bats are not natural fliers. They can fly only when they take off from a height, but if they get stranded on the ground, they can’t just take off again, but first need to climb a tree and then after reaching the top will be able to take off in flight.

When they are resting, fruit bats hang upside down. A good sense of smell helps them with locating fruit trees. They also see well and have good hearing, but they are missing the sonar that insect-eating bats have.

Thankfully, these two bats were rescued by kind people and then cared for by the WRRC. They’re able to live their lives in peace and security in the re-assuring presence of the nearby forest and each other.

Photo credit: Praveenp, CC BY -sa 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

How you can help

You can help the orphaned or injured wildlife at the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre near Bangalore, India, where so many wild animals are cared for. Thanks to the expertise of the WRRC veterinarians and caregivers, most can be released to live out their lives in freedom back in their wild habitat.

Please find the donate button on the right, at the top. Thank you for giving!

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.

***

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: William E. Simpson II – Ethologist & Founder-CEO Wild Horse Fire Brigade Org Ethologist Michelle Gough seen studying and photographing free-roaming wild horses in a remote wilderness area. Photo Courtesy: Lisa Hicks Michelle Gough is an Ethologist and member of the Wild Horse Fire Brigade Advocacy Board. Michelle’s natural connection to native American wild […]

Wild Horses Benefiting From Dr. Jane Goodall’s Leadership and Work — Straight from the Horse’s Heart

Photo credit: WRRC

In Bangalore, in south India, following a recent cricket match, fans of the winning team set off loud bursts of firecrackers to celebrate.

Around dark, Anand Nair, Supervisor of the WRRC center (the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre – Bangalore), received a call from caring people in an apartment complex, saying that they had found a young barn owl, who seemed disoriented, confused, and unable to fly. Apparently, she had been very frightened by the loud, startling sounds and couldn’t fly back to her usual roosting area.

Anand asked the people to approach the owl carefully, holding a towel in front of them and then to wrap the towel around her gently in order to restrain her, then place her in a cardboard box.
He had also asked them to put a few air holes in the box before putting the owl into it, and once the owl was inside the box to tape the box securely and put it in a quiet, dark place, then wait until the WRRC could send a transporter to pick up the owl and bring her to their center for treatment. The kind people, with great care, were able to do all this successfully, so that the owl, once inside the dark box, could begin to calm down a bit.

When, a little later, the owl arrived at the WRRC Centre, with gentle secure handling, they were able to cover her face to reduce her stress. And after a short while, they were able to weigh her. She weighed 330 grams.

They gave her a physical exam and treated a few superficial injuries, then placed her in a sky kennel for further observation and recuperation. In the south of India, it can be cool at night in the winter, and not being warm enough would only slow down recovery time, so they placed a heating pad near the owl to keep her warm during the night.

Very soon she was feeling better and could be shifted to an owl aviary to check her flying ability. Dr. Roopa Satish, the chief veterinarian and licensed wildlife rehabilitator, kept a good eye on her progress.

Initially she just hobbled from one branch to the next but soon was gliding effortlessly and silently in the aviary.

As soon as the relevant permission has been received from the Forest Department, she’ll be taken back to her home range and be released at dusk in the presence of the forest officials and her human friends from the apartment complex.

Even though none of us can stop all loud noises and bright lights in a city, the more we can each remember to think about the birds that are all around us, wherever we may live, the greater chance we may have to remind others about birds, so we can all learn to be thoughtful of the birds who live among us, often unseen and unnoticed.

Barn owls are found all over the world.

This barn owl has recovered and will have a good chance to live a long happy life, thanks to the kindness and quick action of all the people who cared about her wellbeing.

It was after midnight, on November 14 of last year, when Anand and Kiran gently picked up the first star tortoise to weigh her.

After her long ordeal of so much travel, she looked dazed and not too well. Anand Nair, the Supervisor of the WRRC Centre, and Kiran, the night caregiver, took great care while moving her and treating her.

Catching a poacher

Earlier that evening, the police, acting on a tip, had been waiting at the bus station in one of the most congested parts of the city of Bangalore, in south India. Tipped off, they were waiting for a poacher and caught him red-handed with his live cargo at the bus station as he got off the bus from the neighboring state, Tamil Nadu. While some of the police officers arrested the poacher and led him away, the other officers got on to a bus, carrying the bags of tortoises and arrived at the WRRC Centre (Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre) well after midnight. They got the tortoises as quickly as they could to the WRRC, but it was a long day for the officers – and even longer for the tortoises.

No wonder the first tortoise and all the others to follow were feeling dazed and disoriented. They’d been packed tightly into baggage without enough air or space, and no water. There were several hundred of them.

Sadly, over the next week, despite the best efforts of the caregivers at WRRC, a few of the tortoises died, unable to recover from the ordeal they had been through.

A long work-day

However, with the excellent care they received, all 531 of the remaining tortoises did fully recover. That November night, into the dawn hours, Anand and Kiran weighed each tortoise, recorded their weight, cleaned them off carefully, and rehydrated them. All this took nearly three hours.

Most of the tortoises weighed between 40 to 500 grams (from around one ounce – to just over one pound). Because it was November and quite cool for the stressed tortoises, heaters and heating pads were placed all around them to keep them warm through the rest of the night.

Like all cold-blooded animals, they need to keep warm when the weather is cold. After the physical examination, they were shifted to a large enclosure with feed like freshly grated vegetables: carrot, beetroot, sweet potato, cucumber, and greens like coriander. Wild grasses were also added to improve the variety.

Wildlife Protection in India

The poor, rural farmers who had caught the tortoises had been paid just ten rupees (13 U.S. cents) by the poacher for each tortoise.

The worldwide wildlife trade is a major catastrophe for the earth’s wildlife. Most captured wildlife do not survive, and the few that do are then sold illegally, often into the pet trade. Kept confined in unsuitable conditions, they will have lost their wild homes and may never again know the joy of living in the wild.

Fortunately, India, one of the richest countries on earth in terms of biodiversity, also has very enlightened wildlife laws, especially the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. It is illegal to capture wildlife.

Soon, on December 13, many of the 531 rescued tortoises had bounced back and were feeling healthy and well again. They were ready for release thanks to the expert care and the healthy diet provided by the WRRC; the others would be released a few weeks later, just as soon as they were ready.

Return to the deep forest

That December morning, Dr. Roopa Satish, Chief Veterinarian and licensed wildlife rehabilitator, took several of them deep into the forest to an ideal site, where there was water available, far enough into the forest to be at a great distance from any human activity. There, with great care, she picked up each tortoise and then set him or her down among the tall grass at the foot of trees. She chose each spot very carefully. Each tortoise hesitated a moment, then picked up his feet and slowly made his way off into the woods. Free at last, enjoying breathing the fresh air, each tortoise made her way into the brush where she could find native plants and insects to eat, smell the fresh breeze, and begin her life anew, wild, and free again.

A couple of weeks later, a second release took place for the remaining tortoises – hundreds of lives saved – each one an individual living being.

Thanks to the dedicated police work and to the experienced professional care they received at the WRRC Centre, the tortoises are back home in the wild again, with the rest of their lives ahead of them. They can enjoy strolling along on the grass, in the shade or in the sunlight, just as nature intended.

And thank you, as well, for your very kind support for the forest animals of India!

Photo Credit:

Davidvraju
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

The photo at the top is of a different tortoise, not one of the WRRC tortoises.

The video shows the actual WRRC tortoises.

Recently, in Bangalore, in south India, the police rescued an Indian chameleon who was being kept as a pet. Like other wild animals, Indian chameleons are protected by the Wildlife Protection Act of India, and it’s illegal to keep them as pets. They are meant to lead their natural lives free in the wild.

The chameleon was brought to the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre (WRRC), where Dr. Roopa Satish, the licensed wildlife rehabilitator there, examined her. She weighed 60 grams. She was rehydrated, placed under observation, and given insects to eat, which are her natural diet. Often, in captivity, chameleons are fed inappropriate food which can cause digestive upsets.

Very shy creatures, chameleons belong in the wild where they can live among wild plants and rocks and find plenty of places to hide so that they feel comfortable and secure.
Being around people and having little cover causes them great stress and, sadly, they often don’t survive being in captivity. People who don’t really intend to harm them, often don’t understand their natural shyness and their need for a quiet life in the wild.

Fascinating reptiles, chameleons have many distinct features like a flattened body shape, and a prehensile tail, which means that they can grasp and hold objects with their tail. Like other lizards, they have a long tongue that can dart out to catch insects from a distance. They walk with a swaying movement. Some of their toes point forwards and some backwards so they can hold on to tree branches. Each of their eyes can move independently, giving them depth of vision, which comes in handy when catching insects. And, of course, the color of their skin changes, sometimes to match their background, sometimes to reflect other circumstances or to send a signal.

Thanks to the expert care and dedication of Dr. Roopa and the caregivers at WRRC, the chameleon did very well.

Dr. Roopa writes, “After 48 hours of observation, the chameleon was active and ate the insects so she was released inside a protected forest on a tree branch where she slowly but surely held the branch and moved into the foliage and disappeared from our vision due to excellent camouflage.”

Our best wishes to the chameleon for a long and happy life, roaming freely in the forest.

The more we can all respect nature and appreciate and value the lives of wild animals, the happier and healthier life on our planet will be.

Photo: the WRRC

Kangaroo wouldn’t pose for a photo, so this is another bonnet macaque.
Shantanu Kuveskar, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

First, Kangaroo isn’t really a kangaroo (because this is India, not Australia). Actually, he is a bonnet macaque, a monkey, who weighs seven and a half pounds (3.39 kilos). On November 3 of last year, he had an accident. Some very kind people rescued him and he was transported from a southern suburb of Bangalore to the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre. Monkeys, of course, climb to get from place to place, and he had been swinging along on the electric wires over the main road in order to get across it when he was electrocuted.

For any birds or animals, electrocutions tend to be really serious, and his prognosis for survival was indeed grave. For three months, he received lots of treatments and then had to have three of his limbs amputated. (The photo is of a different bonnet macaque, not Kangaroo.)

Amazingly, he was a cheerful monkey through everything. He recovered and nothing seemed to dampen his spirits.

When he was moved into the large monkey enclosure which had special platforms for easy movement, he was with other young, orphaned monkeys. Dr. Roopa writes that “Kangaroo immediately took charge of them all, in spite of his handicaps, and he could be seen, grooming them, playing, and enjoying their company.”

With just one leg, he used his tail to help him balance, and he hopped with great ease just like a kangaroo, hence his name. With his handicaps, he wouldn’t be able to be released and the plan was for him to live permanently at the center. Being a clever monkey, Kangaroo made his own plans. He watched and observed the routine at the center, and one day, while the keeper was in the enclosure doing cleaning, he managed to slip right past him and out the door.

Of course, he wasn’t going far. Now he still lives at the center, but he’s free to move anywhere and can be found hopping from tree to tree, having the time of his life, just as if he had all four limbs.

He gets a delicious dinner – a plate of his favorite food like shelled ground nuts, banana, cucumber, corn, sweet potato, pomegranate, carrots, and beans is placed up on the roof for him, which he polishes off. He has a good friend and companion now – another resident monkey, Taatha, which means grandfather, who is there for lifetime care and is also free to move about the center.

Thanks to Dr. Roopa’s expertise and the good efforts of his caregivers, Kangaroo is strong and feels well.

Despite all he has gone through, he is an amazing monkey, with an indomitable spirit. He’s made new friends and has done very well for himself – now living out his life in a great place – with no electric wires, no cars, or pollution – just an idyllic, beautiful green forest, with people to feed him.

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