According to sources, the department received more than 200 rescue calls over the past nine months, out of which 110 were to pull out animals from waterbodies.
TIRUCHY: The Fire and Rescue Services Department in the district has been receiving more calls to rescue animals that had fallen into pits or waterbodies than to contain a blaze.
According to sources, the department received more than 200 rescue calls over the past nine months, out of which 110 were to pull out animals from waterbodies. As many as 77 of these 110 were related to rescue of cattle and wild Indian gaur and 14 were related to dogs.
It may be noted that earlier in June, the fire team in Manapparai made a makeshift bin-like structure using a garbage bin to rescue two Indian gaur calves, which had fallen into a 60-foot farm well.
Trouble comes when the calls are related to capturing snakes. The department said that it receives almost two calls a day on an average. The task involves a lot of skill and is tough to capture the reptiles safely, and storing them in a place until they are released into the wild is another.
Karunagaran, Assistant Fire Officer for Tiruchy district, said, “Most of the animals fall into farm wells. Without proper gear, the teams rely on private equipment like cranes to rescue the animals from deep wells. If the Forest Department and local body offer more help, we can do better. We have asked local body officials to cover risky ground-level farm wells across the rural areas, which is yet to be done. We attend to a maximum of 12 to 15 calls a month regarding rescue of snakes. This year, the numbers have increased to 25 to 30 calls a month. Without assistance from the Forest Department, the Fire department staff are forced to keep the captured reptiles in gunny bags on their premises until they are released into the nearest forest area.”
Fire officials said the number of calls to rescue stray dogs have also gone up significantly in Tiruchy. What is actually the work of local body personnel is being carried out by Fire Department personnel, officials said.
Handling stray dogs, some of which are wild, may be dangerous, an official said. He elaborated upon a recent rescue of puppies from beneath concrete slabs, when one of the firefighters had to stand guard to prevent the mother of the puppies from attacking the rescuers.
Sources from the Forest Department said lack of water has been the major cause for Indian gaurs entering farms. The department has taken efforts to place more artificial tanks in the forest areas based on the herd movement.