Friday, 21 December 2012

A Christmas message from Olive at International Animal Rescue in Goa

The Improbable Love Birds 
Hello dear friends!
Today I bring you a heart-warming tale for the festive season.
The shy pigeon
Recently at Animal Tracks we observed the development of an unlikely but enchanting friendship between a fledgling crow and a young pigeon. Unfortunate circumstances had led to both wild birds being separately admitted to the centre: the immature crow was still unable to fly and the pigeon weak and exhausted, both had been rescued and handed to IAR as they would not have survived in their natural habitat.
The two birds were placed in recovery cages side by side within a larger enclosure used at the rescue centre to house cats, kittens and pups and other creatures at various stages of recovery and convalescence. Both settled well and soon began to flourish in the protected shelter. The pigeon quietly feasted on a diet of seeds and grain whilst the crow greedily devoured anything and everything offered to him. Possibly realising that, now they were safe and were fed regularly, no harm would come to them, they both relaxed and became comfortable in their temporary confinement.  They began to unmistakeably converse with each other, nattering away together from their adjacent separate cages, cheerful raucous calls from the crow and soft warbled cooing from the pigeon communicating in their own private language.   
The handsome crow

As time passed and the feathered friends improved and grew stronger, the doors of the cages were left open so that they could freely move around the high spacious animal house during the day and to encourage them to stretch their wings and attempt flight.

The pigeon was the more advanced and soon fluttered to the high rafters of the enclosure where it surveyed the crow cheekily hopping around and inspecting the other temporary inmates while constantly keeping a watchful eye on its friend. When one bird moved to another area of the enclosure the other would instantly follow, both gaining confidence and strength and a sense of well-being from their unlikely allegiance. The crow would tilt its head back with open beak and gesture the pigeon to feed it just as it would have done with its mother in the wild. Encouraged by his friend’s flying the crow soon began to flap his wings and take his first tentative flight into the air, joining the pigeon on the rafters where they curiously observed all the rescue centre goings-on beneath and around them. Then a few days ago the veterinary team decided they were ready to be released and the external door to the outside world was left open for the duo to venture out in their own time. Before long off they flew into the surrounding wooded countryside together.
Love birds
We shall never know if the two friends will continue to remember each other or remain in contact, but both of their young lives have surely been enhanced by the special bond forged during their stay at Animal Tracks. The shy and peaceful pigeon is maybe still around yet unobserved but the crow is spotted regularly and visits the centre each day to check on his old friends and hopefully grab a free meal.
If asked to name an appealing or endearing creature, crows and pigeons would probably not be the choice for many, both birds are considered by many to be universal troublesome pests to society.  But having recently witnessed the joyous unreserved acceptance of each other’s existence demonstrated by these two very different birds, free from any acquired malice or prejudice, maybe we could learn a lesson from them in dignified behaviour and coexistence.    

Firm friends
These two innocent young birds, free from the predisposed suspicion and discrimination customarily learnt from family and flock, have shown that nurture is indeed as important as nature, they intuitively disregarded the differences between them and simply accepted and absorbed the best from each other. At Christmas, the festive season of goodwill when thoughts of compassion, peace and joy are particularly evoked, it is not necessary to be a Christian or even religious to hope that we may all extend that benevolent attitude to all the creatures of the world and learn from, protect and cherish all the birds and animals around us.

So that’s all from me for 2012. Have a very merry, cruelty-free Christmas and I look forward to bringing you more news from Goa in 2013!

Love from Olive x

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Olive's Diary comes to us from International Animal Rescue in Goa

From porcupine quills to pickle jars
Hello, hello!
The variety of work here at the IAR Animal Tracks centre in Goa is vast and the team never know what they are going to encounter next. Along with the hundreds of relatively routine vaccinations and sterilisations each month there are regular calls to assist animals in unusual and potentially life threatening situations.
Countless hazards can beset Goa’s animals, particularly feral dogs that live by their wits and learn from experience if they are to survive in an often harsh environment. Amongst the numerous dogs that arrive daily at Animal Tracks, this week there were two emergency admissions that had both come to grief but through very different mishaps.
The dog prior to release
One poor dog had got his head well and truly stuck in a pickle jar but, thanks to a caring young boy who spotted him and made a telephone call to IAR, help was dispatched immediately. When Sarvesh arrived on the scene the dog was so frightened by his own unsuccessful and prolonged attempts to remove the jar he ran away and managed to avoid capture.  The consequences would have been horrendous for him with the jar tightly jammed around his neck, unable to drink, eat, see or even breathe properly. Another IAR team consisting of Manoj Gokul and Abhinand made a return mission to the area and this time soon found the dog sitting exhausted in the shade of a banana tree, head still firmly trapped in the jar. This time he was more than willing to be gently apprehended and taken back to the rescue centre where he was swiftly released from his suffocating plastic prison.
What a relief for the poor animal!
So please, wherever you are in the world, take heed of this incident and dispose of your waste empty containers safely and mindfully. Any thrown out empty vessel can be a potential trap for some creature. Food fragments will attract birds and animals that can easily become trapped in plastic or wedged tight in cans and containers only to die a slow, wretched death.
Marine animals and sea birds as well as land creatures are often found dead or with horrific injuries after becoming ensnared in the discarded polythene that holds together packs of canned drinks. The inconsiderate disposal of so many of our everyday items is potentially lethal for any domestic or wild creature.
But fortunately for this dog he was successfully rescued and freed from his torment. He’ll have a few recuperative days in the Animal Tracks shelter to get over his trauma, then he’ll be sterilised and vaccinated and returned home before too long.

Happy, but no doubt a bit shaken by his ordeal

The second incident involved another dog that had been horrifically impaled in the throat by a porcupine quill.
Porcupines are relatively slow moving creatures that dispense with predators by backing into them using the quills as weapons which are painfully embedded into their pursuers. The expelled quills then regrow to maintain the porcupine’s highly effective armour.
The quill was firmly stuck in the poor dog's throat
Having survived the injury, but still with the sharp quill implanted deep into his neck and painful infection setting in to the wound, the poor creature had sought sanctuary on the balcony of a local school. The concerned children alerted the office staff who called for IAR assistance and Krishna and Sanda were sent to the scene. The highly efficient defence mechanism of the porcupine would so surely have proved fatal for this poor dog had it not been for the prompt and expert veterinary treatment he received on his admission to Animal Tracks from Dr Manik and vet nurse Maruti. Together they carefully removed the 9 inch quill that was embedded 4 inches into the throat of the dog!
This dog will of course need to stay at the centre for a time while his deep infected wound heals with the administration of regular medication in the clean kennel environment, but then he too will be sterilised, vaccinated and taken home.
This dog is lucky to be alive
We’d like to hope that both dogs have learnt from these near death experiences and will consider carefully the consequences of messing with a porcupine or jamming your head in a pickle jar!
But if not help will always be at hand from everyone at Animal Tracks and the caring people who alert the centre to animals in need.
That’s all from me for now!
Love Olive x