PARTNERS: International Fund for Animal Welfare

PROJECT LEAD: Abhishek Narayanan (abhishek@wti.org.in)

INDIA HAS A MULTITUDE OF WILDLIFE REHABILITATORS and animal welfare personnel attending to animal emergencies across the country. Many of them work as either individuals or through organisations, often in a scattered manner without any technical communication with experts or without the opportunity to share their experience with rehabilitators across the country.

To bridge this gap and strengthen and streamline wildlife rehabilitation efforts in the country, the Emergency Relief Network (ERN) was launched by Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) in partnership with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). ERN acts as a platform for expert and amateur rehabilitators and those working for wildlife conservation, including wildlife veterinarians, forest officials, biologists and others, to exchange, share and contribute their knowledge and professional skills in the care for animals in crisis and distress. Initiated in the year 2004, it was earlier known as Wildlife Rehabilitators Exchange Network (WREN) and in 2007 was renamed ERN.

IFAW-WTI also uses this network of committed responders to urgently reach wildlife emergencies and disasters reported from different parts of the country.

ERN in Action

Floods: Bihar, Assam, Rajasthan, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat

Through ERN, IFAW-WTI has provided immediate relief to livestock in flood affected areas to prevent the spread of infectious diseases through immunization and quarantine. The team also provided fodder to livestock stranded in villages that were cut off from the rest.

Tsunami: East Coast of India

During the 2004 tsunami that killed over 10,000 people and several thousand livestock, the ERN team was actively involved in providing relief to animals all along the coast of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

Cyclone: Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu

During cyclones, the ERN team provided veterinary and husbandry support to over 13,000 animals.

Man-made disasters: Gujarat and Rajasthan’s Kite-flying festival

ERN vets also helped in treatment and rehabilitation of birds injured during kite flying festival (Makar Sankranti) in Gujarat and Rajasthan. The bird injuries happened due to the glass-coated thread used for flying kites. Affected birds included cranes, pelicans, seagulls, kites, egrets, storks, eagles, ducks, owls, parakeets, pigeons, doves and even crows.

Wildlife Rehab: Rehab of repatriated Indian Star tortoises in Tamil Nadu and Kerala

IFAW-WTI was involved in four successful rehabilitation programmes of repatriated Indian star tortoises in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The rehabilitation was carried out by trained personnel who, besides taking care of the confiscated animals, also monitored their range use post-release.


Who Can Become an ERN Member?

  • The membership is open to individuals and local organizations (both Governmental and Non-governmental).
  • Individuals applying for membership should demonstrate to the ERN coordinator their past commitments in the field of animal welfare, rescue-rehab or disaster relief.


How to Become an ERN Member

  • Fill up and submit the membership form, which is available for download here. This can be done by sending a soft or hard copy of the duly filled-up application form to WTI by email to ern@wti.org.in or by post to WTI. A recent passport size photograph is a must.
  • Once the merit of every applicant is assessed, an ERN membership card is provided to the applicant, which is renewed every three years based on the performance of the member in the group.
  • The membership does not guarantee financial support from the IFAW-WTI, but individuals/ organizations are welcome to submit proposals seeking small grants to attend to wildlife emergencies across the country.
  • Besides the photo ID membership card, members will also be inducted into the online “google-groups” for ERN members. The photo ID card is not a license to practice wildlife rehabilitation. Members should obtain permission from the Chief Wildlife Warden (CWLW) of the respective states for this.


How Can Members Contribute?

  • Report instances of natural and man-made disasters and sporadic wildlife emergencies occurring in the respective regions to ERN coordinator/moderator on ern@wti.org.in. IFAW-WTI can then decide on the need to provide relief to such animals in distress and crisis.
  • Make themselves available as volunteers or interns to attend to animal emergencies reported from their respective regions. This could be for making an assessment of the situation or the condition of the animal or even coordination of the relief operation.
  • Share and exchange information on wildlife welfare, wildlife rescue &rehabilitation, conflict mitigation and disaster relief amongst ERN members (individuals and organizations) through online “google-groups” and IFAW-WTI ERN Facebook page.

Benefits of Getting Enrolled as an ERN Member

  • Being part of the network, all practicing rehabilitators besides getting an identity of their own, can exchange information with fellow members on the practice of wildlife rehabilitation and emergency relief.
  • Members get opportunities to get trained (and in exceptional cases, equipped also) in wildlife rehabilitation, disaster relief, animal welfare and conflict animal management during workshops organized by IFAW-WTI ERN every year or every alternate year.
  • Members also get an opportunity to work as volunteers or interns during disaster relief operations like floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, cyclone, poisoning, nest tree falls, etc.
  • They also get an opportunity to participate in the tri-annual meetings of ERN members organized by IFAW-WTI ERN
  • ERN members can have access to a directory of ERN members in the country
  • Members can also apply for outreach grants for attending to wildlife emergencies occurring in their respective region or elsewhere.

For more information contact: ern@wti.org.in or phone: 0120-4143900.


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