The Heyvan Times brings you a weekly dose of news on animal affairs from across India, curated specially for animal buffs like us. Here are the top four of this week.
Delhi’s last jumbo rescued after a 14-hour operation
On September 17, the Shakarpur police in East Delhi alerted the chief wildlife warden Prabhat Tyagi of Lakshmi, Delhi’s last elephant in the open with her mahout, lurking around suspiciously. Together with the forest department, police and Wildlife SOS team, Lakshmi was rescued in a 14-hour long operation, battling with a mob that supported the mahout, and carrying her out in a 10-wheel truck. The pachyderm was shifted to the Elephant Rehabilitation Center in Yamuna Nagar run by an NGO in collaboration with the Haryana forest department. Tyagi, along with his wildlife officer Dr K S Jayachandran, coordinated the operation from Tuesday midnight till 2 pm on Wednesday with Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder and CEO of Wildlife SOS and his team-member Naresh Kumar. Kartick said, “We are finally relieved to see that the forest department and the police have successfully rescued Delhi’s last elephant, and moved her to a rehabilitation centre where she can recuperate and live with dignity and freedom. The Center is a large forested facility where this elephant will find a peaceful retirement from a lifelong of suffering.” Dr Yaduraj Khadpekar, assistant director, Veterinary and Research of Wildlife SOS said that the elephant was in poor health due to severe neglect and complete lack of medical care, coupled with years of poor nutrition and will require long term medical care and specialised treatment.
Adopt stray cattle and get paid in UP
The Yogi Adityanath administration implemented the much talked about Nirashrit/Besahara Govansh Sabhagita Yojana on September 9. Simply put: the scheme promotes citizens to adopt four stray cattle (a mix of cows, bulls and calves) in semi-urban and rural areas and the government will pay them Rs 30 per day per cow for the maintenance of the animals. A Business Today report says that this is the solution for Yogi’s government to tackle stray cattle menace. Within just a couple of days of the implementation of the scheme, the Lucknow Municipal Corporation received 1500 applications for adoption of stray cattle and people are queuing up to earn Rs 3600 per month. In Lucknow, district, 24,940 stray animals have already been caught and 9079 have been ear-tagged and are available for adoption. The officials handling the scheme said that the process of verification of the foster parents is underway and the animals will be handed over to them in 15 days. Government vets will frequently visit the foster homes to check whether the animals are taken care of and in case of the death of an animal at its foster home, a routine post mortem will be conducted.
ICMR pitches for animal-free experiments
The Indian Council of Medical Research has finally stood up for finding alternatives to using animals in experiments. Former ICMRS director-general Dr Sowmya Swaminathan and another senior leadership member and experts from Humane Society International (India) published a paper earlier this month in the Indian Journal of Medical Research, calling for the development and use of a 21-century toolbox of human-relevant, non-animal techniques to make India self-reliant in the development of non-animal technologies. The research builds on the council’s earlier decision to establish a Centre for Excellence in Human Pathway-based Biomedicine and Risk Assessment to support the growing demand from India’s research community for a reliable and domestic supply of cellular, organoid, organ-chip and other micro-physiological models for regulatory testing needs and for basic research, claims the Hans India article.
Third specialised DNA Lab coming up in Mumbai to test killer carnivores
The Maharashtra government sanctioned the establishment of a DNA laboratory at Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Borivali, to test and know the killer tiger, leopard or any other wild animal at the earliest possible recently. The Hitavada article says that this decision came as a result of a surge in man-animal conflicts in Ralegaon-Pandharkawda region where a tigress killed 13 humans and 10 more were hunted down by a leopard in Jalgaon last year. The lab, costing Rs 2.74 crores, will be the third such in India. Hyderabad and Dehradun have one each. M K Rao, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (IT, Policy), Nagpur, told the newspaper that in case of any carnivore killing two persons then the beast like tiger or leopard is declared a man-eater as per the SOP of National Tiger Conservation Authority; the department sends saliva/swab samples to the labs at Hyderabad and Dehradun but they take more than three months to get the analysis report. He also said that the process of taking down a man-eater will be faster, before NGOs approach courts and the delay leaves those affected vulnerable longer.