Monday, 16 July 2012

Buffalo jam!

Hello my friends!

Here’s a tale you won’t hear every day, luckily for my buffalo friends! I must say when I heard it I couldn’t help being amused – and relieved too of course at the happy ending ...

The indigenous Asiatic buffalo has evolved to become a vital source of livelihood for many rural farming communities throughout Goa and other regions of India. Buffalo milk is particularly nutritious and yields the highest fat content of any farm animal. They can thrive on even the poorest foodstuffs and are valued and cherished members of many farming families. They grow to huge proportions, particularly the males who can often weigh up to 880kg. The sight of these powerful creatures with their massive, majestic swept back horns and glistening wet bodies ploughing the flooded fields is a typical rural scene throughout the countryside.

Buffaloes adore being in water and are particularly suited to working the monsoon paddy fields. In the dry season entire family herds return each day to their favourite ponds and river places to cool down and totally immerse themselves and escape the fierce heat, a pair of wide, flared nostrils or the tips of their horns is often all that can be seen above the water.

Recently we received an emergency call at Animal Tracks from a local man about a buffalo bull who had got himself into big trouble. The adult male had been ambling about the neighbourhood of Saligao enjoying his "off duty" time when he happened to catch a tasty delight as he sniffed the breeze.

The typical ecological practice of disposing of vegetable and fruit garbage by leaving it out to be eaten by any passing creature results in many free range animals cruising around the lanes ever on the look-out for tasty dietary supplements. The bull had come across a pile of jackfruit waste, a particular seasonal favourite with both man and beast, and set about devouring his treat oblivious to anything else.

The feast took place outside a family compound between the garden wall and adjacent mango tree. In his enthusiasm to stretch and reach every morsel the bull managed to get himself completely stuck in the small gap. His alarmed cries alerted the householder who called Animal Tracks for assistance.

The IAR rescue team was soon at the scene and found the huge creature wedged tight in the too small space between wall and tree. Completely trapped, but panicked and distressed with his thrashing hooves and sharp horns, he was still capable of inflicting serious injury on his would-be rescuers. But the IAR team is highly experienced in working with large frightened animals in distress and they swiftly and calmly chipped away with hammer and chisel at the masonry, freeing the huge relieved buffalo.

Despite the ordeal and with protection from his thick leathery hide he had sustained no injuries at all and was none the worse for the experience.

So I’m pleased to report that on this occasion a damaged wall and a bit of dented buffalo pride and embarrassment were the only casualties of this successful International Animal Rescue mission!

Love Olive x