As reports of floods hitting Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Bihar came in, field teams from the International Fund for Animal Welfare-Wildlife Trust of India (IFAW- WTI) Emergency Relief Network (ERN) swung into action to provide veterinary care to distressed animals, particularly livestock.
We managed to treat more than 4,000 animals in two of the worst affected states in India and help the forest department patrol sensitive areas to deter poachers in a third state.
Teams conducted a reconnaissance of flood-prone areas as soon as we received news of intense flooding and reached out to relevant state and district level Animal Husbandry (AH) departments and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). The IFAW-WTI teams set up veterinary relief camps as soon as the waters receded.
The ERN field team in the eastern state of Bihar worked with the state AH departments to provide veterinary relief to approximately 800 animals (mostly cows and buffaloes) through veterinary camps in five blocks in Patna district of Bihar. Treatment was provided mainly for high fever, diarrhea and malnutrition with a few cases of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and mastitis. The ERN vets also administered medicines and mineral mixtures to the livestock owners. The team provided antibiotics and used maggot spray on the wounds sustained by animals during floods.
The ERN team also organized veterinary relief camps in the heavily inundated Chirang district of the northeastern state of Assam (the western extension of Manas National Park). The teams were helped by local veterinarians in treating approximately 3,300 animals (mainly cows, buffaloes, goats and pigs) mostly for parasitic infections, malnutrition, diarrhea and fever.
Heavy rainfall has led to flooding of vast tracts of land, affecting a large population of humans and animals. The rapid response by the IFAW-WTI ERN teams couldn’t have come at a better time. People and animals are still struggling to find their feet after being swept away from their lands and livelihoods which are dependent on livestock. With all the grazing grounds submerged under flood water, livestock had limited access to fodder leading to greatly reduced immunity to disease. To add to this vulnerability to illnesses, physical injuries were also caused by repeated loading and unloading of animals in rescue operations and some instances of snakebites.
ERN teams rallied to help affected wildlife of D’Ering Wildlife Sanctuary in the far northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh.
Wild animals were forced to search for higher safer grounds, making them susceptible to poaching or conflict with humans settled on the park fringes. IFAW-WTI’s response in D’Ering Wildlife Sanctuary extended to supporting the Arunachal State Forest Department in allocating resources for engaging local youth as manpower, using boats to patrol and track the displaced animals and equipping the rescue team with transport cages. Two patrol teams have successfully tracked and driven many elephants, wild buffaloes and deer to safer highlands. Mr. Tashi Mize, DFO, D’Ering WLS has conveyed his gratitude to IFAW-WTI for their support in the form of ERN relief to this Sanctuary. “It was the need of the hour,” he said.
ERN teams are now ready to set up camps at the biggest river island in the world, Majuli, in Assam carved by Brahmaputra and its tributaries that bore the direct brunt of floods. Approximately 3,000 livestock were found to be in need of veterinary care. As the water is receding, the ERN team along with local vets will soon set up relief camps to treat the affected animals.
Article source: IFAW