by Rajiv Ranjan
Today, the eleventh day of our training commenced under the leadership of Dr Parag Nigam, Dr A.B.Srivastava Sir and the young doctor Dr Ankush Dubey. Live Animal capture was the task of the day. The action plan was set in advance with defined teams with clear tasks. We were divided into different teams that included the darting team, Animal search, loading and weighing team, Animal monitoring and biological sampling and data recording team. Being equipped with all the resources, we started the day. As we entered the park, at about two kilometres from the main park gate, it was a delight to see the Queen of Sariska, ST9 Tigress. She appeared from the bushes and was seen sitting in the nallah. We captured her in our cameras and mind and proceeded in search of Sambar destined for capture. On moving a short distance, Sambar doe was seen browsing on Caparis bush along with a group of eight individuals. Dr Amit took aim and darted the doe. The shot was a clear intramuscular shot The drug induction started in the next three to four minutes with the animal showing signs of ataxia and coming into sternal recumbency by seven minutes. The animal was approached by 14 minutes, blindfolded and positioned.
We had the responsibility to record various parameters individually. Physical examination of the immobilized sambar was done and blood samples collected. The animal was weighed and detailed bodily measurements were taken. Drug reversal was carried out subsequently. As soon as the Sambar became fully conscious, we silently expressed happiness and moved towards the next goal. I was thinking in my mind that next turn, whose turn? Suddenly, the voice of Nigam sir came in my ear that the next dart would be done by Dr Rajiv. Nervousness made my heartbeat because a small mistake of mine could result in an emergency. After a distance of a couple of kilometres, a male chital deer was seen resting under Zizipus patch with other herd members in the vicinity. He was licking his hind legs with his mouth. Now my heartbeat seemed to touch its ceiling. I was meditating on my presiding deity and Gurudev from my inner heart that I got a signal to dart by Dr Nigam sir. Just what was it … My target also seemed right. Let me tell you that this was my first experience of chemical immobilization as well as my first attempt. The dart went smooth and I was quite relieved. Then respective teams carried out their defined tasks. I held the head of the immobilized chital in my lap to ensure that the head was extended and airways were patently facilitating breathing. I was eagerly waiting for that moment when Chital would come to consciousness? Maybe you are guessing my discomfort.
After entering all the parameters in the datasheet, reversal medicine was given. The time for me to be happy was very close now. After about 10 minutes, Chital revived and ran in his normal state in search of his companions-may be. I, along with my colleagues, went out for the next action plan while enjoying a chilled soft drink. Our next exercise was darting a dummy tiger from a moving vehicle. Although we all failed in this action plan, we got a great lesson that under no circumstances should we lose our patience and confidence. We continued to get wet and dry in the rain of knowledge by Dr Srivastava sir. We returned to had our own and subsequently had an informative session by Dr Srivastava Sir immersed us in the ocean of knowledge and we were refreshed. I especially thank the Department of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Government of Bihar for giving me this pleasant feeling, who has nominated me for this type of training. Heartfelt gratitude to Course Director, IWAH 20-21 Dr Neil Anderson, Dr Tony Sainsbury, Dr Amanda, Dr Lee, Dr Stuart, Alex and Hannah for all the efforts. The learnings of online course were of great help and enriched me. My sincere regards and thanks to the highly respected Dr P K Mallik Sir, who has led the foundation stone of wildlife treatment and management in India.
It was indeed a great day of learning.