by Genevieve Weaver
Today was a continuation of the immobilization procedures and techniques from yesterday, but today our target was different, the wild pig Sus scrofa. I was chosen to dart one of the wild pigs (I am guessing it was because today is my blog day, and the tutors wanted an exciting post!) I was quite nervous but also very excited. Yesterday’s darters set the bar high and I did not want to let anyone down! The wild pigs allowed the vehicle to approach closer than I expected. They kept turning and moving so I had to be patient and wait for the perfect shot. The first dart bounced and did not appear to discharge into the male pig so for the second attempt, we changed the needle to a collared one so to penetrate and hook into the thick pig skin. Success! Once the wild pig was determined to be adequately immobilized, the weighing and monitoring teams sprung into action. We then immobilised a second individual, who this time was a female, and the other half of our group took the reins. Both teams were organized and everyone seemed more confident today compared to yesterday. Both pigs recovered and immediately went back to their respective groups and normal behaviours. A successful morning!
In the afternoon, we participated in practice darting of “tigers”. The challenge was to practice our new darting skills in a moving vehicle while aiming at a model drawing of a tiger. Everyone agreed it was much harder to get a good shot while moving in a vehicle over rocky terrain, even if slowly. I successfully darted the first “tiger”, but I darted the paw of the second one. Ouch! I obviously need more practice! Dr Gowri also regaled us with reptile facts and stories while we waited our turn for the darting. She showed us a large cobra shed she found in Sariska Park. She is truly is a wealth of knowledge on these critters.
Tonight was also the engagement party for tomorrow’s wedding at Sariska Palace. We admired the lavish and beautiful decorations that completely transformed the Palace grounds. The wedding party also gave us some henna so our experienced students and Dr Parag(!) kindly and patiently applied lovely, elaborate, and interesting artwork on our hands. We waited patiently around the fire while our henna dried. Another lovely evening to cap a productive day!