The presence of large number of animals that roam the streets of villages and cities in India is unfortunately the result of lack of animal shelters. The State has the duty to construct the animal shelters for the domesticated animals, as well as animal orphanages for the wild animal’s young ones.
Most unfortunately, the State is completely ignorant that there even exist such animal shelters in name, wherein the basic necessities of water, food, and veterinary services are not provided. One such case was when a State Government stated that it did not run any cattle shed in 2016, inspite of the severe dilapidated conditions there. While the case is too large for the private players to make any difference in the matter, the young generations of the cities have accepted these miserable conditions of these animals as a way of life. It came as a surprise when some people stated that the cattle were ’street animals’, and that is where they were supposed to be. It comes as an unfortunate ensemblence that the righteous struggle of lakhs of Hindus through the past millennium have not yielded any results. The strenuous fight to uphold the morals, dignity of cattle, the essence of Hindu religion and the culture of this soil finds less and less followers by the passing generations.
As far as the wild animals are concerned, apart from some sanctuaries in India such as Kaziranga National Park, Jim Corbett National Park, Ranthambore National Park, Tiger sanctuaries such as Periyar Tiger Reserve, Girnar National Sanctuary for lions do exist; mainly for the tigers and lions, but not much is done by the State for the sustenance of the orphaned animals especially which do not fall under the flesh eating and ferocious category.
The most common among these are the elephant calves which become orphaned and cannot be kept by small private trusts. A multitude of reasons is responsible for their conditions; mainly natural calamities such as floods, separation from herd, diseases and poaching. The elephant calves are young and grow up very slowly just as humans. They cannot survive in the wild and need regular care, apart from the presence of caretakers since they are always reported to be crying inconsolably in need of mother. The support required is heavily emotional to these calves.
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While the Kaziranga National Park in Assam does deal with this problem to some extent and have taken up the task but this is localized to the eastern region. The forests of the Southern states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala have wild elephants in multitude and the most common reason for deaths is poaching. Kerala does have a few private trusts that keep calves who are sick, diseased or injured. This is also local and very limited in access.
There have been instances in the state of Karnataka where the elephant herd came into a village looking for food. However, the locals lit firecrackers to scare them off. The herd ran away but a mother and calf duo was set on fire.
Another instance is in the State of Karnataka, when the mother elephant ran towards the forest, but the calf could not match up to her, being young and weak, apart from being injured. The locals instead of driving him out towards his mother started taking photos with their mobiles and the elephant calf was crying inconsolably all through. However forest officials were informed and they took him for some treatment. In the meantime, mother came to look for her calf and she did not find him. She returned back to the forest and came back in the morning to the village looking for the calf. The forest officials brought the calf, but the calf being very emotional and in need of mother died the next morning.
It is important for the creation of animal orphanages for the wild animal’s young ones, as well as for the domesticated animals such as cattle. While the main duty towards this objective remains of the State, the efforts shall multiply if rich temple trusts as well as private owners take up the task in their capacity.