March 2006: Wildlife Conference in Visakhapatnam
Our Intermediary Wildlife facility is in its nascent stage, but we are taking every step, measure and interaction from the experts and hands-on field activists (who often know more than just academicians) to provide the best for the SOS wild species. We have gained immense experience and expertise from the sea turtle campaign and the migratory birds’ community-based protection rescuing different species of wild animals and birds but our field/hands-on rehabilitation needs improvement. We aim to perfect our protocols and find suitable conditions for wildlife developed as per the local conditions and habitats.
Towards this end, VSPCA has hosted a major Wildlife Conference here in Visakhapatnam from 27th to 29th March 2006 in association the major sponsor’s Wildlife Trust of India, New Delhi and IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) with our local zoo also. We had more than 70 participants and representatives from seven states of India and three international resource persons.
We had a very informative and educational interaction with
- Saleem Hameed, wildlife rehabilitator at the WRRC (Wildlife Relief and Rehabilitation Center) Bangalore, India;
- Ian Robinson, IFAW wildlife specialist, USA;
- Thushan from the Turtle Conservation Project Sri Lanka at our shelter after the conference.
Sarada Buddhiraju VSPCA; Saleem Hameed WRRC; Ian Robinson, IFAW
Teaching how to use tranquilisers and the blow dart at the conference.
Saleem of WRRC demonstrating how to handle a cobra.
Of course, we called for joint coordination efforts with a practical unit/task force exclusively equipped to rescue any wild animals in distress in this Eastern Ghats if not the immediate vicinities of this region. We hope to coordinate with Wildlife Trust of India and the local zoo.
Seized from captivity this mongoose was rescued by Swathi Buddhiraju. His neck was badly bruised due to the skin-tight aluminium collar fixed upon him but has healed completely. He has gained a lot of weight and we hope to release him at the Kambalkonda Sanctuary opposite the zoo. Meanwhile, he is still in the four by four feet cage with a tub full of and sand and grass and is quite active. It would have been nice to release him in the shelter but we fear about the free-roaming shelter dogs. Also to get an enclosure for him exclusively or for any such other abandoned mongoose, we are working on that now. But we want to release them in suitable habitat when they are rehabilitated and this is our policy for the wildlife.
It was astonishing for me to find this man on the beach with a monitor lizard hanging and never knew that a habitat existed for them in the marshy areas. It is a baby monitor lizard and is almost dead. They are from a village about 40 km from here known as Chintapalle areas. They specialise in consuming wild animals profusely. We were there as part of our sea turtle awareness campaign and we sent the message across not to kill the animals. Next year there will be much better awareness as a result of our efforts. To dissuade and discourage them I doused the dead monitor lizard in kerosene and then buried it more than 1 and 1/2 feet below the sea-sand. — Pradeep Nath
Pradeep Nath seizing a poached baby monitor lizard.
David Shepherd Wildlife Award 2001
“Pradeep Kumar Nath has displayed great tenacity and fearlessness in his fight for animal life on the eastern coasts of Andhra Pradesh. He has fought courageously for the past five years to protect Olive Ridley turtles and their nests by preventing poaching and conserving their habitat on the Andhra Pradesh coast. He has taken his fight even to the government, against the use of turtle nesting beaches for construction purposes. He has also contributed to animal welfare in and around Vishakhapatnam through his campaign to stop animal sacrifices and illegal slaughter. His actions have helped save more than 800 turtle nests and over 80,000 hatchlings.”
(Update for 2006: Please note the tally is up to 1800 turtle nests and protection for 180,000 hatchlings released into the sea.)
The rescued barn owl.
Charlie at 35 years old is our oldest star tortoise. Protected under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife Act these species gets their name from the radiating star patterns on their shell and each beautiful star is centred on a pyramid-shaped bump. Greyish brown or golden brown colourations blend in with their surrounding and among tufts of grass and they become somewhat camouflaged.
Because they are special tortoises they are therefore victims of smuggling and we have confiscated 17 of them from hunters who would sell them for their meat.
Deemed auspicious the temples try to keep them around but as they are ignorant of their special care they can die. I have rescued some from the temples which did not know how to care for them. And Charlie took 2 years of special care after the rescue to bring her back to good health. We have the best facility for them and pamper them with twice-daily feedings of tomatoes, beans, ladyfinger, carrots and spinach. It is so endearing to see them become fond of us and follow around their caretakers like dogs, trying to climb our legs for food and attention.
Charlie enjoying a long bean, her favourite food.
Their tortoises are not uncommon in Andhra Pradesh but there is also a lot of ignorance that threatens them. Superstition says that they should be kept at the bottom of wells to clear the germs but they just die down there. So this is another part of our ongoing humane awareness education campaigns to educate the public about these special reptiles. — Pradeep Nath
A stitched mouth of the Cobra being displayed on the occasion of “Nagachaviti” festival.
Parakeets about 300 stuffed in a basket – saved by VSPCA.
Dolphins dead due to injuries.
Monitor Lizards caught selling in the Market.
Monitor Lizards teeth are removed before capturing them.
The charred remains of Monitor Lizards. They are skinned alive, hind legs immobilised and burnt for their Oil believed to be used for body aches