Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Watching the birdies at Animal Tracks

Hello hello!

Well, we're going bird crazy at Animal Tracks these days. Not that birds aren't a regular occurrence - we often get sick and injured birds coming in and the team also rescues birds that are held in captivity illegally.

ParrotIn India it is illegal to keep any native wild animal captive without a proper licence. This licence is almost impossible to obtain and in any case a number of criteria to meet the needs of the animals must be fulfilled before such a licence is issued. According to the law the licence must be revoked immediately if the animal is found to be neglected in any way. Sadly the law is not enforced properly and many people keep native birds, monkeys and reptiles as pets. In Goa International Animal Rescue responds to reports of such animals and, with the help of the local Forest Department, the animals are confiscated and rehabilitated.

The parrot currently being cared for at the centre was found tethered in the back yard of a family home in a local village in north Goa. It had sustained a nasty wound on the leg from being tied up but with the care of our vets we hope that he'll be up and running (sorry, flying!) in no time.

KiteThe kite was found in a poor state and unable to fly. It was admitted to the centre and examined but so far the vets have been unable to determine what the problem is. There are no fractures or paralysis and the kite appears in good health apart from it’s inability to take off. Investigations continue and we are all keeping our fingers and paws crossed for this fella.

"What happens with the birds that can't be rehabilitated back into the wild?" I hear you ask. Luckily there are a couple of private places in the area that have built aviaries for such birds. These places have permission from the authorities to house them and checks are carried out regularly to ensure that the birds are kept in suitable conditions.

Must dash. There are monkeys on the roof of the kennels and no way am I gonna let the other guys have all the fun chasing them off!

Bye for now!

Monday, 18 May 2009

The Vagator menace

Dear all,

It's not often that I mingle with the cats around here. It's partly because most of them aren't particularly friendly towards dogs but also because it simply isn’t cool for a dog to be friends with a cat. It’s sort of frowned upon a bit in our gang.

the Vagator menace!Anyway, I happened to be lazing around nearby when this ginger tom arrived at Animal Tracks. He has been named "The Vagator Menace" because of the way he's been terrorising the village. He actually found his way into the house of two of the volunteers and attacked their old cat Clive. Apparently the poor thing hasn't been himself since. "The Vagator Menace" wasn’t that easy to catch though. It took several attempts with a trap cage filled with everything from mackerel to cat biscuits before he finally succumbed to the temptation of the goodies and went in.

I’ll be in loads of trouble with my fellow centre dogs if they find out I've said this, but the truth is that cats are extremely clever and not easy to trick into doing anything.

Olive chilling in the staff toilet"The Vagator Menace" will be castrated next week and when he's recovered he'll be released back in the village. Hopefully he'll settle down a bit but if not, who knows, we might see him at Animal Tracks again.

The heat goes on here in Goa and it is nearly impossible to stand it any longer. We are all praying that the rain may set in soon so the temperature will drop but until then we'll just have to do the best we can to stay cool. I'm in my usual spot in the staff toilet. The sun doesn't get in here at any time so the tiles are always nice and cool and most people have the heart not to kick me out even when they pay a visit.

I’ll catch up with you all again soon.

Woof woof!

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

5 little piggies who won’t go to market!

Hello again!

I have told you before that there is much more to Animal Tracks than cats, dogs and cattle. You've read about rabbits, birds, and other exotic animals and today I’m going to tell you the sad story of eight little orphan piglets. They were brought to Animal Tracks from the village of Aldona by a kind soul who could not simply leave them to their fate after their mother died.

Rescued pigletBeing less than two weeks old, the piglets need feeding every three hours so the team is busy making sure they get adequate nutrition. The vets put together their diet and the kennel staff ensure that the food is given to them around the clock. A cosy little nest has been made for them in one of the puppy cages. I’m not meant to go in there but I just had to sneak in one afternoon to have a look at these funny looking little things. They are so sweet but sadly, owing to infection and the stress of being separated from their mother only five piglets remain. Being so young their immune systems are not fully developed, so it is easy for them to fall prey to disease and, as in humans, stress weakens their immune system as well.

Rescued pigletsThe remaining five piglets are doing great now and they have already grown a lot. The plan is to let them grow bigger and stronger and then find a suitable home for them with a farming family. We have to be careful though because, although there are a lot of takers for this little bunch, not all are looking to give them a loving home. In Goa there are many Catholic families who eat pork – unlike the Hindus – and many such families breed pigs to sell for slaughter. A pig can earn a family around Rs 2000/- (approximately £27), which is a lot of money here. Needless to say, none of us at the centre would want to send these cuties off to such a fate. I'm doing my best to spot the bad guys and take a careful sniff around anyone who enquires about the piglets.

I'll be in touch later to let you know what happens. In the meantime keep checking out my blog and the International Animal Rescue website for lots of interesting stories about the charity’s exciting projects.

Big hugs from me!

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Little calf survives surgery for two broken legs

Hi there,

Although the centre is as busy as ever collecting and treating animals, there is something different about the place these days: there aren't so many people coming to see the place and play with us. The tourist season is over and naturally that means fewer volunteers come to help out which changes the atmosphere a bit. It's not buzzing in the same way. Having said that, the long- termers remain faithful and despite the heat they still find the energy to come and give a hand walking the dogs. So I still get my treats and cuddles and I'm not complaining.

Little calf with broken legsA few weeks ago a very young male calf was rescued from the road side in the northern village of Tivim. He had been hit by a car and was in a bad state. Both of his back legs were broken and when he was brought to Animal Tracks there were doubts as to whether he would survive. Nevertheless the vets decided to give him a chance and immediately operated on him. Dr Nikhil, our specialist in orthopaedic surgery, went to work and completed the difficult task of mending the calf's legs with pins. It was a tricky job to do because the calf needed to be under general anaesthetic for a long time and that in itself put his life at risk. Luckily he pulled through and entered the next phase of recovering from the surgery and regaining his health and strength.

Now we are all keeping our paws crossed for the little Tivim calf. His progress is slow and the prognosis is uncertain. As much as we would all like to see him recover, there is doubt as to whether he'll ever be able to be released again. I wish we could have centre cows as we have centre dogs. Sadly it's not very practical because cattle take up a lot of space and need a lot more care than we dogs do. Besides, centre dog Nicky would chase them all off in no time since chasing cattle is his favourite pastime!

Lots of woofs from me.