Posts Tagged With: India

Caution: Wide Load

What does it take to move a 1-2 ton animal?

Conservation efforts often mean translocation. It is sometimes in the best interest of re-population and survival to move animals into better locations. For example in Assam, India, the India Rhino Vision 2020 program aims to attain a wildlife population of at least 3,000 greater one-horned rhinos in the state of Assam by the year 2020.  This goal will be achieved by translocating rhinos from areas of high population density to new habitats, where effective protection programs can be put in place.translocating sedation

Each situation is different, varying in length of travel time to number of rhino, but the usual mode of operation consists of:
*sedating them with the help of a veterinary crew,rhinos into truck
*moving them into position onto a truck,
*driving to said location, then off loading them into a temporarily built boma (enclosure) in the new location;
*followed up with waking them, and careful monitoring of their health thereafter.translocation boma

Logistics, practical preparations, bureaucracy, transport and funding have to run simultaneously with preparation of the rhino to undertake the journey. It is a huge and delicate undertaking, and can take considerable time to put together.

Then there is the health of the animal to consider. Whenever any animal is sedated there is a health risk from the anesthetic, there is possibility of injury in transport, and the stress alone is a danger. Rhinos have died from the move.

Of course there have been less than typical moves as well.  In 2009 three black rhinos were moved from a Czech Republic Zoo to a Mkomazi sanctuary. It took 2 years of planning and a  Martinair 747 aircraft to make the 6,400 mile move.

flying rhino 2Perhaps one of the most misunderstood photos: the’ flying rhinos’, is yet another method the WWF has  taken in moving the second largest land mammal. The tranquilized  rhinos are suspended from their ankles for a short journey by helicopter to an awaiting vehicle. This is a quick and efficent way to remove them from inaccessible areas.

Any way it needs to be done-desperate times call for desperate measures. After all, there are only so many ways to move a 1-2 ton animal.

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Bijlee Needs a Ton of Help

Mumbai -Bijlee the elephant has been working continuously for 51 years. She’s never stopped until now. She collapsed; with maggot infested wounds on her legs, in pain and fatigued, and lies where she fell.

The owner of Bijlee, and other elephants, has subjected them to abuse and neglect, forcing them to beg, entertain, and walk for his paycheck. She has been overworked and uncared for all her life.

bijlee getting helped up

bijlee crane lifting

The group Animals Matter to Me, has taken steps to help this injured elephant. They’ve used a crane to lift her when she falls, have brought food for her, and started treating her wounds. The first couple days, they had help from neighboring people; however the majority have left her now.

Bijlee needs help. AMTM has requested the following:

1. A vet with knowledge of treating injured elephants. From any part of the country. A contact number, a lead or any information would help.

2. Someone who can help transport Bijlee to the Animal Hospital in Parel. A crane has been coming in every day. But she’s too weak to stand, and the ropes are not being able to hold her up. A specialized crew who has some idea of transporting large animals would help. Again, any information, any leads would help.

3. Volunteers. Today there were 5 people there. And they need help, to run around, to put pressure on the system, to mobilize support, to organize food, to find vets…you get the drift. Please come. If we have 50,000 people there, we can create a noise and put pressure on the system. Hopefully, some politician or even the state government will come forward.

4. Donate: Generously. Bijlee needs food and medicines. Every little bit you can contribute will help save this magnificent creature. And I believe you get a tax exemption. Even more reason to donate.

It’s raining. They are trying to build a shed. In the meantime she’s covered with black tarpaulin, so her wounds don’t get Bijlee collapsedworse.
If she dies, shame on every one of us. If we can’t save one elephant, how will we save our city, our forests, our rivers, our mountains.

You can send proceeds in favour of “Animals Matter To Me, Mumbai” to:

AMTM Mumbai,
B601, Shyam Nagar, Blue meadows
Off JVLR, Behind Majas depot,
Jogeshwari (East)- Mumbai 400060
Landmark – Ganpati Mandir Lane.

Online fund transfers can be done to our saving bank account (SB a/c) in the name of:

“Animals Matter to Me, Mumbai”
SB Account number – 911010036376599
IFSC/RTGS Code: UTIB0000395
Axis Bank, MIDC branch, Andheri(E), Mumbai-400 093

All donations are tax exempted under section 80G Income Tax act Receipts will be couriered

Call Ganesh at 9819380310
Shormistha at 9820284062
Parag at 9867303540

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , | 12 Comments

Making History for Elephants

Since the beginning of mankind, animals have had to make way for people. We come in, build, take over, and run them off their land.  But for the first time in known history, people are moving for animals.

indiaIn Assam India, an entire village is relocating to make room for the Asian Elephants. The Ran Terang village is situated in the direct corridor connecting the Nambor-Doigrung Wildlife sanctuary to the Kaziranga National Park. This “highway” is the lifeline for approximately 2,000 threatened pachyderms. By moving the village, there will be no human  interference allowing the elephants to move freely, as well as making way for other threatened species such as the tigers.

Convincing the village to move has not been easy, but the people will also benefit. In addition to not worrying about the elephants destroying their paddy crops now, the 19 families are being set up with water and electricity in their new homes. The new area will be turned into a model ethnic Karbi village, with the potential to be turned into a tourist destination.

“The Karbi people will create history in the field of environmental conservation by karbi village relocatesthis unique gesture. We have to learn to live with the animals and I’m proud that the Karbis are showing the way to the world,” says Recho Harsing Ronghang, the 40th king of the Karbi Anglong.

The constant demand for land to set up rubber and tea plantations has resulted in deforestation, and in turn  habitat fragmentation in the area. This coupled with growing human population is hurting the threatened species in the area.

Considering that one-fifth of the Asian elephant population resides here in Assam, this is a crucial move.asian elephant herd

The Wildlife Trust of India is behind the move. WTI’s Dilip Deori said “the village was totally supportive in the project and are helping us in every way possible.”  There are eight other corridors in Assam that could benefit from relocation as well, a huge undertaking, yet as the Karbi people have shown, completely possible.

Categories: Good News, Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Wildlife Rangers: Unsung Heroes in the War on Poaching

ZAKOUMA NATIONAL PARK, Chad — Just before dawn, the rangers were hunched over in prayer, facing east. They pressed their foreheads into the dry earth and softly whispered Koranic verses, their lips barely moving. A cool wind bit at their faces.

All of a sudden, Djimet Seid, the cook, said he heard “one war whoop — or maybe it was a scream.”       

And then: “K-k-k-k-k-k-k,” the angry bark of a Kalashnikov assault rifle, opening up on fully automatic. In an instant, an entire Chadian squad of rangers was cut down with alarming precision… (NY Times 12-2012)park rangers

At least 60 Wildlife Rangers worldwide have been killed in 2012. (The exact number is a mystery, as it is believed that many more deaths go unreported)

As the duty of wildlife rangers has shifted from field biologists to military personnel, it is a struggle to catch up. Todays rangers are desperately in need of more funding, training and equipment. Seemingly a step behind the higher funded poachers, it hardly seems a fair war.

As the demand for tusks and horns has soared, poaching has evolved. The previous attack in Chad was carried out with military precision, making it necessary to be on guard for an ambush on any given patrol. Poachers have turned to AK-47s, land mines, and have even poisoned animal carcasses to kill off vultures, which serve as a warning signal to their presence.

The duties of game rangers vary from assisting with translocation of animals to patch burning to fixing pumps and generators. But their job can hardly be called routine when death can come at any time.

Recently I did a little “Q and A” with an experienced 14 year veteran ranger from Namibia. His name is being withheld to protect his identity.

Q: What is a typical day on patrol like for you?

“Well its early up….after breakfast of only food in tins we start patrolling to see if we can’t find tracks of animals or poachers…..after we find tracks we follow…..till we get what we want. Sometimes we have to walk hours and lots of km a day to see the Rhinos or any other wildlife. We get to camp at dark and still have to make food, after that we get a few hours of sleep. Then comes night patrol. We have poachers coming at night to shoot the animals so we  have to be alert at all times. We get so tired but we help each other to stay awake.

This goes on for 10 to 15 days in  one area then we move again to the next.”

Q: What determines where you patrol? And how many of you are there at a time?

“We help lodges and farmers that breed wild animals and try to protect them. We have no routine, we go as we think its time or on request of the owners. We also work on the highways; that we do with police or the army. We help with road blocks and patrol with them helping with tracking and so on. We are about 30 guys depending on how much money we can get (as I pay them for their families, and for their supplies). Sometimes its only 6 guys.”

Q: Where does the funding come from?

“We get donations from people and the places where we work also help us with food for the periods.”

Q: It seems you must have a lot to take with you-the essentials for camping equip and food, weapons,etc?

“The weapons are our own, the tents we buy from china shops here. They are cheap but not strong so we have to change them out about every second month or so. We take nothing from nature ….no hunting or fishing for food….we take all with us when we go.”

Q: Do you have a lot of run-ins with poachers?

“Yes. We have a lot of run- ins with poachers….its easy to meet them when you live with them in the bush.”

Q: What’s the most dangerous situation you’ve been in?

“Well in 2005 one of our unit members was killed in a shoot out, but we caught them after 2 days of tracking. We were on highway patrol when we came upon the poachers. They started shooting at us as they tried to drive off….luckily none of us got shot THAT night too.”

Q: What’s the most rewarding situation you’ve had?

“One area in Namibia had a poaching problem for about 3 years…they heard of us and asked for help. We went in with about 12 members. We caught the poachers; they were police and nature conservation members along with the tribe king’s son. That was my best bust ever…..just their faces said it all.”

Q: What do you wish you had to make your job easier, more effective?

“Funds to get better equipment….this will make any job better and easy to do. We would  like to go on horse back doing bush patrols and when we move from one area to another we would like to  have some type of transport to help with the load. It’s nice working by foot but it can drain your body very quickly.”

Q: How does this fit in with married life and family? Is it difficult or do you get used to it?

“Yes it’s not easy on our lives if you have a wife and kids, but my wife understands and she is also into nature. You will never get used to it -being away from home. It’s very hard work..meaning the sun is really hot here, and  animals don’t stay in one place,  you have to follow them to make sure they are safe so its long distance walking.  And at  the same time you have to be alert for danger like wild animals, snakes and poachers. It’s not easy but I think it’s the best job in the world.”

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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