In a bid to rescue wild cats and other animals that often intrude on human settlements, Sangali-based Nature Conservation Society (NCS) has invented a type of ‘all-in-one’ cage, that can be used as a trap, as an enclosure and as a transport means for harmless rescue operations of wild animals.
The state-of-the-art cage has been designed after several instances of animals getting injured while being trapped.
“In recent years there has been a spurt in instances of conflict between humans and the wild. Humans are encroaching upon forest area, and are being attacked by the beasts. When such an incident happens, the forest department traps the animal, which sometimes gets injured while trying to free itself,” said Arwind Soman of NCS.
He added that after learning from their own experiences, the organisation decided to design a cage that would minimise the chances of injuries to the animal while it is being trapped.
“After each rescue operation, we did research on the shortcomings and lacunae in the process and realised that we can come up with a model that can be used as a cage, for giving medical assistance to the animal, and for its transportation,” Soman said. He added that forest officials have approved the new cage model and that the society has also got it patented.
“In the old model, when the animal entered, the shutter would often fall on the leopard’s tail, causing it to get severed. However, in this model, there is a gap between the shutter and the bottom of the cage so the animal doesn’t suffer injuries,” he said.
The improved version is light in weight and does not have sharp iron bars. Also, the space in the new cage is such that anaesthesia can be easily administered to the animal.
After a big cat gets trapped inside a cage it becomes ferocious, and in a bid to free itself it claws on the iron bars, sustains injures in the process. “Keeping that in mind, we have kept the material smooth,” Soman added.
To lure the animal, there is a smaller cage with prey in the enclosure. “Once it enters the enclosure and is safely trapped, the smaller cage can be detached and then the animal can be transported in the cage itself as it has wheels,” said Soman.
MS Bhosale, the forest office of Sangali region, said that the new cage design is on par with international standards.
So far the society has produced two cages: one is being kept at Sangali and the other at Shirala, which is surrounded by dense jungles.