Dear Animals for the Care of Treatment,
I hope all is well with you. Thanks to the generosity of our wonderful supporters, last month Animal Rahat was able to offer crucial veterinary care to 366 bullocks, 136 donkeys, 28 horses, and 732 other animals, including this extremely handsome elephant.
This is dear Ram Prasad, one of the "temple elephants" whose living conditions we have worked for years to improve, despite totally unreceptive temple administrators who couldn't care less about his welfare.
We have been pressuring the temple hard to let us at least help build Ram Prasad a corral so that he can move around instead of standing chained in his concrete stall all day and night. Ironically, during Animal Rahat's recent visit to check on Ram Prasad's abscesses, his mahout (handler)�??who in previous years has resisted the idea of the corral�??expressed an urgent desire for the enclosure to be built because Ram Prasad is soon due to go into musth (a hormonal cycle during which male elephants become aggressive out of desperation to mate).
The mahout said that the temple authorities are now ready to green-light the corral, so we're doing everything we can to get the ball rolling again. There may be a light at the end of the tunnel.
The other good news is that for the first time since we started treating him, Ram Prasad has no wounds and was assessed by our veterinarians as being in excellent health�??a veritable miracle given the condition in which we found him all those years ago. After all the guidance and prodding from Animal Rahat, it's no longer just the statues of elephants at this temple that are getting taken care of. Now, Ram Prasad's caretakers are finally giving him high-quality food, trying to prevent injuries to his skin and feet, and taking him on regular walks. Hallelujah!
This 22-year-old bullock with the red horns is named Sonya. This is the third "Sonya" we've welcomed to our Home for Retired Bullocks over the years. He was spotted by one of our scouts pulling a cart loaded with 2 tons of iron rods. Animal Rahat had warned his owner twice in the past that Sonya was too old and frail to work, so this time our scout said, "Either you surrender Sonya to us, or we'll file a police report." And now he's with us forever!
Sonya is finally getting medical care for his aching limbs and enjoying nutritious food, and at last he is free of the nose rope that had been making every turn of his head since he was a calf painful.
We also persuaded another owner to retire his elderly bullock and to keep the animal at his hut in the village of Hipale. This owner was at first extremely reluctant to remove the bullock's nose rope for fear that he would no longer be able to control the animal. So Animal Rahat staffers explained that grooming would be a wonderful way to increase his bullock's trust in him, which would make handling easier, and they gave him a lesson in grooming (shown above). It worked! The retired bullock now enjoys regular grooming sessions and is finally free of his painful nose rope.
A particularly sad case involved this cow (below) who was burned after someone likely decided to punish her by throwing acid on her�??as often happens to wandering cattle and "street dogs" in India�??as she tried to snatch food from a stall. Hungry cows and other animals don't understand that when people lay food out, they can't take it. We provided her with emergency medical care, and she's now recovering at the home of a volunteer. This is the third cow in the past few months who has endured this torment in that one particular village alone, so Animal Rahat worked with local villagers to file a police report, generate media coverage, and urge people to be on the lookout for the person doing this so that we can get the perpetrator charged with cruelty.
Nag Panchami is a religious holiday in which people "worship" cobras in the hope of gaining protection from them during the rainy season. Regrettably, this means that cobras are captured in bags in which many suffocate, kept in tiny boxes, and starved so that they will be more likely to drink the milk�??something they can't digest�??that is forced into them during rituals. Their teeth are violently yanked out with pliers, and many snakes' mouths are painfully and crudely sewn shut before the animals are carted into cities by snake charmers. Also, the snakes' venom ducts are often pierced with a hot needle, which causes them to burst.
In the weeks leading up to Nag Panchami, Animal Rahat hired actors (shown above) to stage street plays urging people to revere snakes and not harm them. We also worked with other local animal advocates to give talks at schools and persuaded the Forest Department to print posters and fliers warning the public against harming snakes. Also, just before Nag Panchami, the Bombay High Court issued an order against capturing snakes during the festival.
As a result, for the first time ever, our scouts did not see any live snakes displayed at the Nag Panchami festivals in Sangli, and they saw people using snake statues instead. What a breakthrough!
Speaking of snakes, among the many animals rescued last month by Animal Rahat was this trinket snake. After noticing that some teenage boys were throwing rocks into a water tank, one of our scouts went over to see what was going on and discovered that the boys were trying to kill a snake inside. Our scout immediately got the boys to stop and called our expert snake handler, who quickly arrived on the scene and transported the snake to a safe spot for release.
This pond heron was also a beneficiary of Animal Rahat's vigilance. One of our scouts saw that the bird had been caught by a poacher. Our scout seized the heron, warned the man against catching birds in the future, checked to make sure there were no injuries, and released the bird so that she could fly away.
This dog had been suffering for an unknown length of time with a rope embedded in his neck. The Animal Rahat team was able to catch him, remove the rope, treat his wound, and provide him with follow-up care at the home of a volunteer.
We are happy to report that he has now fully recovered and has been adopted by the volunteer.
For these animals and so many more, Animal Rahat's intervention has meant the difference between life and death. We're still working hard to obtain permission from government bureaucrats to get a plot of land for our new sanctuary, and we'll let you know about any progress made on that front. Thank you for being a valued part of this vital and successful effort!
P.S. Please make a gift to Animal Rahat today so that we can facilitate the retirement of more bullocks, continue to make community festivals and traditions more animal-friendly, and save more animals�?? lives. Thank you!