A new partnership with Apollo Tyres led to the launch of the Kannur Kandal Project, a critical mangrove restoration project in the Kannur district of Kerala in May. Oracle decided to lend our Central Indian Wild Buffalo Conservation Project a crucial supporting hand. The Union Bank Social Foundation provided our Greater Manas Conservation Project a new veterinary vehicle.
And the year ended on a special note for the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), long-term partner on several of our projects, as it won the prestigious FICCI Corporate Social Responsibility Award for 2016 for its support of the Eastern Swamp Deer Conservation Project.
Our flagship wildlife care facility, the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC; the only facility in India where orphaned and/or injured wild animals of several species are hand-raised and/or treated and subsequently returned to the wild) is used to a bit of attention. This year was special by far though, with Their Royal Highnesses William and Kate, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visiting in April.
The team at CWRC more than rose to the occasion when the worst floods in over a decade hit Kaziranga National Park in July. Working in conjunction with the Assam Forest Department, Mobile Veterinary Service (MVS) teams attended 107 rescue cases in the space of a week. The sudden influx of rescued animals – and especially the eight orphaned rhino calves saved from the flood waters and brought to the centre – stretched CWRC’s resources to the limit. Veterinarians and animal keepers worked round the clock to ensure that rescued animals received the required treatment and care.
The plight of flood-affected animals led to an outpour of public interest and empathy. In one of the most touching displays of support, students of a remote school in Golaghat, Assam, decided to sacrifice one mid-day meal in order to buy milk formula for the eight orphaned rhino calves being rehabilitated at CWRC.
Our interface with children across several projects was, indeed, one of the high points of the year. Whether on International Tiger Day, or during Wildlife Week, or Gujarat Whale Shark Day; through the restoration of a football ground, or the holding of a kho-kho tournament, or the setting up of a scholarship; from Kunhimagalam to Gondia to the Garo Hills, we celebrated wildlife with young ‘uns.