Monsoon rains threaten wild and domestic animals in India

Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Yarmouth Port, MA
IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare - www.ifaw.org) has mobilized a team to aid animals amidst what the UN is calling “the worst floods in living memory.” The immense region affected by the Monsoon includes Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and India. In response, IFAW is working with the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and local groups across India to: 1) provide food, veterinary care and sheltering needs to displaced livestock and companion animals, and 2) provide vaccinations and dewormings to displaced livestock and companion animals.
IFAW is working across India including:
  • In the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, IFAW is partnering with Sarwangin Vikas Samithi (SVS) to feed, vaccinate and provide emergency veterinary care to 3,000 livestock (cattle, buffaloes, and goats) over the next 15 days. Assistance will be provided through 12 animal care volunteers and four veterinarians. The work will be focused on the districts of Gorakhpur and Maharajganj (covering 89 villages in 11 blocks).
  • In the state of Orissa, IFAW is partnering with People for Animals, Orissa, to feed, vaccinate and provide emergency veterinary care to over 1,500 livestock for next two weeks. Assistance will be provided through 10 animal care volunteers, two veterinarians and four livestock inspectors. The work will be concentrated in the Balesore and Mayurbanj Districts.
  • In the state of Bihar, IFAW is working with Green Power India to feed, vaccinate and provide emergency veterinary care to 3,000 livestock over the next 15 days. In addition, they will provide anti-rabies vaccinations for 400 dogs. Assistance will be provided through four animal care volunteers and five veterinarians. The work will be focused in the Muzaffarpur and Samatipur districts.
  • One of the worst hit areas is India’s northeastern state of Assam, home to Center for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) in Kaziranga – a center jointly managed by IFAW, WTI (Wildlife Trust of India), and the Assam State Department of Environment and Forest. Up to 500,000 people are estimated to have been affected by the floods in Assam. Rich in biodiversity, the state boasts unique national parks like Kaziranga, a World Heritage Site and home to endangered Asian Elephants and Rhinos. IFAW and WTI have mobilized teams to aid animals affected by floods including rescuing wild animals and feeding and vaccinating livestock and domestic animals.

With 70 percent of Kaziranga flooded, displaced animals undergo a stressful and many times fatal migration to higher ground. “Two dozen wild animals which include Asiatic black bears, hog deer, great Indian hornbills, King cobras, Burmese rock pythons, Indian hares and hog badgers have been rescued at CWRC,” said IFAW manager Anand Ramanathan.

Displaced from their home and struggling to survive, wild animals and people meet face to face in perilous encounters that on occasion have ended in loss of life on both sides. Added to an increase in illegal poaching, the result of the floods has been devastating. “Over a dozen one-horned Indian rhinos were poached while they got displaced of their natural habitats. Five more of these endangered rhinos were found dead due to drowning caused by the flooding,” added Ramanathan.

Domestic animals vitally important for farmers in Assam are also gravely affected by the Monsoon. Unrelenting floods destroy any opportunity for animals to feed and waterborne diseases spread quickly. In spite of the current conditions, IFAW/WTI responders and members of the ERN (Emergency Relief Network) are heading to the worst-hit areas taking much needed vaccines and food for cattle.

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