The 19th day of course with little feel of tiredness but lots of excitement too, again we started to field exercise at 9:15am. Today it was the day to do of our two most important exercises- To dart a Sambar deer and monitor its physiological values and then hand on practice of dart injector.
We reached in conference hall at 9 AM for training programme and there some instructions given regarding the practical programme and our schedule are kept on white board in library. In which we all are divided into 2 groups with different tasks were given to every trainee in the group. Today’s work was on the tranquillization of sambar. After whole planning given by Dr. Nic Masters we all got into different ‘gypsy’ according to designation and go for national park, Sariska.
One more fruitful day!!! Wild Animal Restraint and Anaesthesia Techniques
The day started with beautiful sunshine. All participants got together at 08.00 am in the conference hall after having yummy breakfast. Dr. Nic gave a briefing about the activities for the day. Then three groups were formed each having 7 participants. Total three tasks have to be focused on by each group during morning and noon hours. All were excited to step out for the field work of “best practice in Wild animal restraint and anaesthesia”. I was a part of Group A. Straight away the A’s went to Professor Anna for the first task under the vicinity of huge ficus tree, where she briefed about the process planning of animal restraint. We were given three options to choose a species for chemical restraint, we chose an Asian elephant (Not the real one!!!! A ballooned toy). We were supposed to make a process planning for chemical restraint of full grown Asian elephant for the purpose of semen collection. Under the guidance of Anna, the A’s gave all their inputs which came out as a good strategy plan. Apart from this Anna gave a useful brief about the equipments, chemical agents and techniques used to restrain different wild animals.
We have taken breakfast in between 7 to 8 AM then we all trainees/participants went in conference hall for routine training program in ‘’Sariska Palace’’. First topic was presented by Dr Neil Anderson he gives power point presentation on Interfaces between wildlife, domestic animals and people. He took very good lecture and gave us many knowledge and understandings about Interfaces between wildlife, domestic animals and people. After finishing the lecture he divided us in four different groups, 5 members in each group. He gave us 4 different questions as following for field exercise and discussion.
- What are the contact points and mechanisms for disease transmission?
- Is there any spatial or temporal separation between hosts?
- What species are most at risk?
- What diseases are likely to be of concern?
We all had a good breakfast at 08.30 in the morning followed by a Talk on “practical aspects of pathological examination in the field as a component of disease outbreak investigation” by Dr. Tony Sainsbury, ZSL at 09.00. It was an interesting session of bilateral interaction. Dr. Tony gave a chance to everyone to share opinions on the topics under consideration. All participants were divided in to four different groups. A task was allotted to all groups. Every group has to think over and conclude their opinion on the topics allotted to them. After about 90 minutes all groups sat together for their inputs on the respective topics of discussions. It was a wonderful session for learning view point. Delicious lunch was waiting for us. We all had a good lunch time in the noon. Came together after lunch we met in seminar room for discussion on planning the implementation of a scanning disease surveillance system for a national park. After finishing the session, other session started on 17:00 presentation on geographical information system (GIS) was given by Dr. Neil Anderson. In that presentation we learned about data restore and planning. It was so helpful for the future planning also he teaches as a practically how to use the GIS and he came at every table and teaches to personally to all participants. It was so helpful for us to gain knowledge about GIS. After finishing our whole work we took our dinner with all participants. The whole day we got many things about our field work.
After four days on a road trip we woke up to the sound of very unexpected but well needed rain in our home base, the Sariska Palace where we also got to welcome three new members of the teaching team; Anna Meredith (with her lost-and-found luggage), Neil Anderson (with loads of books for us to study) and Brian Mather (with all his camera gear). We all felt good to be back in Sariska after the long hours in the bus but wished that the breakfast buffet from Ranthambore would have followed us.
Protected Area Management in Keoladeo National Park:
On our way from Agra to Sariska, at 9.30 am in the morning, we arrived at Keoladeo National Park at Bharatpur, Rajasthan. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The park derives its name from the Keoladeo temple situated within its premises. The sanctuary was developed by Bharatpur rulers. Here we met the Director, Keoladeo National Park, who along with Dr. Parag Nigam took a keen interest in briefing the history and present scenario of the Park. They also highlighted the problems that they are facing with regard to the local community, livestock pressure, climatic changes etc. It was apparent that the management is doing an excellent job in maintaining the park and also in supporting the livelihood of the community in the vicinity of the park.
Today was a very long drive from Ranthambore to Agra. Travelling in India takes time. This journey took over 7 hours. All along the way there was some interesting street and rural scenes. The interface humans-life stock is omnipresent. Even in cities and on the motorways it’s not uncommon to see cattle and buffalo crossing the road or resting in the middle section.
Once in Agra we visited an elephant rescue run by SOS Wildlife India. There elderly, injured and sick elephants confiscated by the forestry commission are taken care of. Positive reinforcement is being used to train the elephants so handling is made easier.
The day was finished off with the promise to visit the sloth beats the next day.
Elevated heart rates, gasps of excitement and feelings of satisfaction were experienced by all the students after the sighting of our second tiger at Ranthambore National Park- the romance of valentines day was truly running strong this morning! And despite the tourist terrorism facing the tiger male, he was still able to provide an incredibly memorable display as he negotiated the hordes of tourists in their game viewing vehicles.
We woke up about 7am and started the day with an interesting lecture on best practices on the Black Rhino translocation in Nepal. After our breakfast, we packed and got ready for a long drive from Tiger Heaven to Ranthambore National Park. We spent about five and a half hours in the bus, doing several stops “to do fieldwork” (if you catch my drift ;-). Traffic in India is never boring though; there are always dogs, cows, monkeys or cars to swerve.
But after this bus trip, the day got better and better: we arrived to Ranthambore Nahargarh Hotel at lunch time. It is a huge building, absolutely gorgeous, where we had a long table set up for us. After a delicious lunch, we got ready for a safari in the National Park, and got to see lots of wildlife. Just about 15 minutes in the park, we had the chance to see the tiger again! That big male was so close to us we could have almost touch it when he walked by our vehicle. Lots of other people got pretty close to the animal, and he seemed to be relaxed although in some moments all the vehicles hemmed in and his path was blocked. We also got to see lots of other interesting species, as the king vulture, the pied king fisher, the black headed ibis, the grey heron, and so many others …
After the safari, we had a fantastic tea, visited the hotel and found out that there is an area reserved for us, and even a private swimming pool! We took a hot shower and had a great barbecue. Finished the day sharing a bit of wifi, as we have been isolated from the virtual World for a couple of days