By Rudra Krishna
First published by http://bodahub.com
The Blue Cross of India is an NGO and Animal Welfare Organisation situated in Chennai (Madras) in the South of India. I must begin with the disclaimer that I have been a volunteer with this over-50 year old organisation for most of my life.
The Head of Rescues in the Blue Cross of India is Dawn William, a former army man, vegan, and animal rescue specialist par extraordinaire. I could have gone with one of his more action-filled rescues here, but I’ve chosen the current one to make a relevant point.
Approaching midday on the 31st of March, 2016, Dawn received a panicked call from a security officer in a factory on the outskirts of the city. The information given was that a dead monkey had been found on the premises. What caused the panic was that alongside the dead mother was a newborn little baby monkey.
The authorities in the factory told Dawn that the mother had been around the area a lot during the previous couple of weeks. She hadn’t been aggressive or troublesome at all, and they hadn’t realised she was pregnant.
On the evening of the 30th, the plant supervisor saw her being chased through the streets by a crowd of people. The supervisor had intervened on behalf of the monkey and invited her into the plant, and not knowing the extent of her injuries, believed the problem to be at an end. She was allowed into a covered and cooled area, and though she moved slowly, the plant authorities still hadn’t suspected any injury. Our team were unable to find anyone willing to name any of the perpetrators of the crime.
The baby was still clinging to his mother. That was the security officer’s statement to Dawn about the situation he found the pair in. Dawn was accompanied by 13-year-old Joanna, daughter of a Naval Officer stationed in Vishakapatnam in the state of Andhra Pradesh, down in Madras for her summer vacations, which she is spending volunteering with us.
They quickly cleaned the baby monkey with a warm water-soaked towel and Joanna held on to him while Dawn and the plant personnel performed a ceremonial burial of the mother. The baby has been brought to the Blue Cross of India’s facility and will live with us for a while, until he is a little older and stronger. He is an absolute darling and we have named him Lallu. He will eventually be turned over to the wildlife authorities as, in India, keeping any animals classified as wild or protected privately is a serious criminal office. If he cannot be released back to the wild, he will live in a sanctuary where he will be well cared for.
Such incidents of wildlife interacting with urban or even rural life are very common in India. The insane rate at which the population is growing means that cities, towns, and villages are forever expanding. Gummidipoondi, which used to be a village well outside Madras, is today considered a suburb of the city.
What this effectively means is that India constantly invades the spaces wild animals have been occupying for thousands of years. We then build our fancy and modern apartment blocks and planned communities in wild land. And we’re able to commit such brutal acts of animal cruelty with the justification that the security of our children is compromised.
One only needs to ask themselves whether the shock they would have felt if this were a story about a human mother and her baby would have even been comparable to the sadness caused by reading this story.
Photos courtesy of Dawn William
To visit the website of Blue Cross of India or to help with their life-saving work, click here.
To help Blue Cross, if you live in the U.S., click here.