The incidents of wild animals and reptiles invading the human settlements have increased multiple times in the past few years, and in Goa 45,000 snakes are being rescued and released in the forests every year, yet there has been no recognition or any monetary rewards for animal rescuers. Mentioning this fact Amrut Singh, chief of Animal Rescue Squad pointed out, “Rescuing animals can be dangerous.
While rescuing animals, especially poisonous snakes or other wildlife species, there always lies a risk to life, but this has not been taken into consideration by the government and the animal lovers keep doing their job selflessly without expecting any remuneration or even a word of appreciation," laments the Bicholim bases Amrut Singh who has been running Animal Rescue Squad along with his team for the past many years.
The rescue squad team that has members in North as well as South Goa, rushes and rescues those snakes that intrude into urban human spaces. On one call, these dedicated rescuers rush to the spot, using their own mode of transport and rescue equipment. They do not ask or expect any remuneration from the locals who give them emergency calls at any odd hours. After rescuing the snakes or crocodiles, the rescued animals are rehabilitated in the forests or uninhabited lands.
However, the government has not yet planned any scheme for rehabilitating the rescuers, by offering them permanent positions in government jobs.
“The animal rescuers should be accommodated in the administration by creating posts like ‘animal lovers’ and offer them employment. However, after this demand, the forest department accommodated only 40 animal lovers on contract basis. Some of these are on contract for 10 years. They are paid a meagre salary of Rs 14,000 (earlier this salary was Rs 10,000) and no leave,” lamented Amrut Singh.
Another drawback is, that there are no proper animal hospitals to treat wounded wild animals. Wounded animals are treated only at Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, but the animals that are rescued by animal lovers are not treated here. It is dangerous to catch wounded snakes or other animals, and if done without required training, it can cost the rescuer his life. In the past, there have been incidents of snake bites on rescuers and animal lovers.
“But in such cases, there is no insurance breather from the government, which is the need of the hour,” stated Charan Desai, another animal rescuer from Ponda.