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Rescuers brave COVID threat, pull out buffalo stuck in canal for 4 days
For nearly four days, a buffalo was stranded in a canal near Maduravoyal Bypass Road. The slurry had collected on the animal’s back and legs, preventing it from moving. A nearby watchman, seeing the animal’s plight, requested for aid, and Dawn Williams and his rescue team from the Blue Cross arrived at the scene.
“It took us 12 minutes to rescue the animal. We first had to befriend it by feeding it some grass. Our team of four used a system of ropes and knots to get the animal out without causing it any more trauma,” said Williams, a technical rescuing expert.
Once inspecting the animal for injuries, Williams decided to wash the slurry off the animal. However, that was where the issues began.
“The locals were unable to assist us because of the pandemic. The biggest issue is when locals try to assist us or crowd around. With social distancing norms in place, crowding can cause big issues. We had to lie that we’re coming from a COVID hotspot so that they stay away,” said Williams.
Rescuers share that throughout the lockdown, rescue attempts have been made even in quarantine zones. Additionally, lesser staff means that rescue must be carefully prepared beforehand for best results. Another issue is the notification part. With residents mostly keeping indoors, notifying the authorities concerned has been difficult. To overcome this, the Blue Cross started an online notification system via WhatsApp.
“Locals just need to message to the number, and they are given a list of information that the rescuers need. They can even send pictures. We are working on refining the system for faster communication during the pandemic,” said Williams.