Wildlife rescue…not black-and-white…

Some conversation…

 Quite unusual for me to be off for several days, as I subject myself (and the rest of you!) to the discipline of frequent posts. But it was a full weekend…Saturday morning, to Hessarghatta, getting back only by 3pm and then having visitors…Sunday morning, to Valley School, back at 1pm, and then off to JLR Bannerghatta (where neither mobile phones nor 3G seems to work) to volunteer for a nature trail with 49 students of Vidya Niketan, on an overnight camp. Got back yesterday evening, and was rather tired…and today all the home chores demanded attention, so had to turn down an invitation to go on an overnight visit to Chik Yelchetti for Junglescapes work.

My photographs from Hessarghatta are on my FB album


My photos from Valley School are


And my photos from the JLR camp are



But meanwhile…I’ve been having regular conversations with a very impressive schoolgirl, Anvitha. She often raises very valid questions about wildlife conservation…and our last conservation/rescue conversation went like this:


" I just wanted to ask you this question which is haunting my mind from many days. When I was coming back from Konark temple, we were passing by a sanctuary. Our auto would have run over a turtle trying to cross the road but fortunately it did not happen. After lifting and seeing it, I was ready to leave it back but the auto driver told that he is gonna keep it along wid other animals he has. I tried to convince him n leave the turtle in so many lakes we came across and even in the sea which was opposite to our guest house but he did not agree. I sometimes feel that the turtle can have a better life by being in the fish tank but at the same time I also feel that it has the right to live in wilderness. Which is correct ? and also do people eat rufous tree pie coz i saw and talked to a family who had caught it."

My response:

"Regarding the turtle (which was probably an Indian Pond Terrapin)…it is definitely better off in the wild, than in some chlorinated water tank…but then, you really had no control over what the auto driver was going to do. Frankly….I have my doubts…it probably wound up as food for him and his family…and you have to consider that as part of the natural food chain. Anyway, fresh water turtles might die in the salt water of the sea and vice versa, so probably putting it into the sea without knowing exactly which turtle it was might not be a great idea.

Alas, most birds and animals provide a good source of meat and protein for people. We can only try and prevent its happening…very often we have no say in the matter. Once I rescued an injured Pond Heron which a family was eyeing. The bird died in the rescue shelter the next day…I wished I had at least let the family eat a proper meal. So…one has to accept that rescue is not always possible, or even the best thing in the circumstances. Life teaches us some hard lessons sometimes….difficult for a soft heart like yours to accept."

And her reply:

"thanx for the advice. Actually I told the family to leave the poor bird n they left it once but just when we were returning a small gal from the same family again easily caught the bird and so I thought the bird was used to the family or something like that."

I do wish there were many more Anvithas around! A child so sensitive to the beings around her…may her tribe increase!


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About Deepa Mohan 767 Articles
Deepa Mohan is a freelance writer and avid naturalist.