An endangered wolf was spotted starving and suffering with malnourishment after getting its head stuck in a plastic container.
The Indian wolf was spotted by 26-year-old Tanay Panpalia, an accountant and amateur photographer, in Nagpur when he went into the forest with some friends to take photos of the wildlife and visit the lake.
After spotting the wolf wandering around with the container stuck on its head, looking pale, thin and dangerously undernourished, Tanay and his friends knew they had to do something about it.
Tanay called the Nagpur Forest Department, and the three friends spent two hours following the wolf until a rescue team arrived and were able to cut the container off, before releasing the animal back into the wild.
I and two friends had ventured to the lake in order to take photos of birds, but we were also hoping to capture some images of wolves.
When we saw a pack of them we were so excited and decided to follow them for a while to take photos when we suddenly found a young wolf whose head was stuck in a plastic container.
The other wolves watched us from a distance – we were scared as there were only three of us and 10 of them.
However, the young wolf seemed to be very weak as it was unable to eat due to that plastic container.
So, despite being scared, we had the determination to save him and we immediately began the rescue operation.
Thankfully, the plastic container had holes in it which was allowing him to breathe and drink water – it’s probably what kept him alive.
Plastic containers, such as the one on the wolf’s head, are often used by villagers to store food.
The villagers throw away the unused containers wherever they want, which results in such mishaps with wild animals.
We immediately informed a rescue team from the Forest Department of Nagpur and followed the wolf until they arrived.
The team eventually reached the spot two hours later and, with the help of a rescue kit, we were able to catch him.
Unfortunately, the container had a very small opening and it was not possible to remove it by pulling it off over the head. So we decided to cut the corners off the container to enlarge the opening.
After the opening was large enough we slowly pulled it off his head and removed it. It was a success and there were no external injuries to the wolf.
We kept on showering water on him to bring down his body temperature and then released him back into the wild. He ran away swiftly and rejoined the pack later on.
I was sad to see such a beautiful animal become stuck and almost die as a result of human ignorance.
Tanay added that he documented the whole process in order to make people more aware of how their rubbish affects wildlife.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.