‘Raja’ saved from jaws of death
In one of the biggest rescue operations, Uttarakhand forest authorities saved a leopard from the jaws of death
Jotirmay Thapliyal
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, November 6
Leopard ‘Raja’ was nearly dead when he was first found on the outskirts of Dehradun in April 2008. Its throat was badly slit due to the poachers’ steel wire traps and there was little chance of saving the animal.

But in one of the biggest rescue, relief and rehabilitation operation linked to wildlife, Uttarakhand forest authorities saved ‘Raja’ from the jaws of death by a long process that involved treatment, experts’ consultations and commitment of the forest staff.

Forester Gagandeep, who was the first among forest officials to spot ‘Raja’ in the injured state on the Dehradun-Mussoorie road and accompanied him all along his treatment, jotted the entire proceedings of the treatment.

How it happened 

April 6

Injured Raja was found lying among the bushes alongside a nullah at the backyard of Pestleweed School. Villagers reported the matter to Gagandeep, posted at Malsi Chowki, who immediately rushed to Raja’s rescue. The skin around his throat had been ripped apart and it had deep injury marks. Bringing the wild cat to Malsi Chowk was a big challenge. The services of Dr Manish Patel, a veterinary doctor, was sought to render first-aid to the wild cat. A.K. Bannerjee, Mussoorie DFO, was among the first senior Uttarakhand forest official to reach Malsi. He gave the leopard an identity by calling him ‘Raja’.

And then the long-drawn struggle to save Raja got underway. First and foremost, the injured leopard was administered a saline water bottle. In the meantime, the matter was brought to the knowledge of Chief WildLife Warden Srikant Chandola. Now the first challenge before the Mussoorie wildlife authorities was to search for a safe place for ‘Raja’. The authorities found it wise to take ‘Raja’ to its Mussoorie divisions’ Ladpur office in Raipur, where he was housed in a small cage and water was his sole intake on the first day of treatment.

April 7

Raja was struggling for life and Dr Manish Patel, who was treating him, administered two glucose bottles along with antibiotics. It was hard to ensure that Raja swallowed medicines and therefore they were mixed with 2 kg liver meat. This was apart from the ‘Tapcure’ spray applied on his wound.

April 8

The day proved tough for doctors. It took Dr Manish, who was now being assisted by Wildlife Trust of India volunteers, to administer three saline bottles to ‘Raja’. Yet again medicines mixed with three-and-a half kg of liver were administered to ‘Raja’.

April 9

With ‘Raja’s’ condition not stablising, the Mussoorie forest authorities now pressed into service Dr. Parag Nigam and Dr. Sushant Chowdhary of the Wildlife Institute of India (WII). Dr Pallavi Bhagwat of the WTI too joined them. After much deliberation, the trio along with Dr Manish decided to refer Raja to Pant Nagar Veterinary Medical College. Now after administering another seven bottles of saline and few injections, Raja was in a position to be taken to Pantnagar, an overnight journey from Dehradun. After arranging a big cage from Rajaji Park and a mini truck, ‘Raja’ along with a team of foresters including Gagandeep, Sultan Singh and Neelkant left for Pantnagar at 8 in the evening.

April 10

After a long and arduous journey, Raja reached Pantnagar at 10 am on April 10. Renowned veterinarian Dr J.L. Singh was entrusted with the responsibility to ensure the speedy recovery of ‘Raja’. He advised X-ray of the injured neck as the first line of treatment, which certainly was not easy.

Tranquilising Raja could have been dangerous but the task was successfully carried out. Fortunately, his bones were found intact, but the ligaments that ensured neck movement were ruptured and dressing was the only way out. Raja was given daily dressings and was administered regular diet of boneless goat meat.

April 11

‘Raja’ showed the first sighs of recovery. The diet intake was increased to four to five kg of meat per day, and Raja also started identifying Gagandeep and other foresters, who had been accompanying him from the beginning of his ordeal.

April 25

‘Raja’ was shifted to a bigger cage as his activities gradually increased. He was now also being rendered touch therapy. Dr Pankaj and Dr Annupriya, doctors at Pantnagar, now spent much of their time with ‘Raja’.

May 1 to May 6

Another challenge came along. The cage was proving small for the animal and needed modifications in its height. The enormous task of shifting ‘Raja’ back to smaller cage started.

May 7

The task of transferring ‘Raja’ was carried out during midnight. It took two hours of struggle before ‘Raja’ could be put back to smaller cage. Meanwhile, the bigger cage was taken to Nagla, at a distance of 15 kilometers from Pantnagar Veterinary hospital, for modifications. The height was thus raised.

May 8

Three hours were spent to put ‘Raja’ back in the modified big cage. The transfer, which started at 8 in the evening and concluded at 11 pm, was done with utmost care so as to prevent any possible injuries to him. Of course, ‘Raja’s’ proximity to Gagandeep was of much help.

May 9 to May 15

‘Raja’ had recovered seventy per cent by now. His injury marks were now three inches wide and he weighed 45 kgs. By this time of the year, Pantnagar located in the Terai belt, has started simmering with summer heat. Even coolers could not ease ‘Raja’s’ woes and doctors thus advised forest officials to take him to cooler climes. Thus, it was decided to bring Raja back to Doon.

May 16

Dr J.L. Singh prepared discharge certificate for ‘Raja’ and arranged a mini-truck for his transport.

May 17

At around 2.30 on the night of May 16, ‘Raja’ left Pantnagar for Dehradun. He reached Malsi Deer Park, his new home, at 11 am. He was being provided regular dressings under the supervision of Gagandeep. Regular massage and exercise of his legs was also being done, as ‘Raja’s’ hind legs got jammed due to lack of movement for the past 40 days.

June 2

‘Raja’ for the first time roamed inside the cage and that was certainly a matter of rejoicing for Mussoorie Division forest officials. He was now behaving as a fully fit leopard.


‘Raja’ was now shifted to a new enclosure inside the Malsi Park and showed signs of normal activity.

Interestingly, while Malsi Park authorities had been searching for a male leopard for Rani, housed inside Malsi for long, ‘Raja’ settled the problem.
Now the forest division authorities are adopting a systemic approach to ensure mating between the two leopards.

“There was a sense of achievement within me, as I saw ‘Raja’ recover from the clutches of death,” says Gagandeep, the forest official, who first spotted the injured Raja. “Today he has gained weight and has touched 95 kgs and it gives me immense joy as he bubbles with energy,” he adds.

Significantly, Uttarakhand forest authorities felicitated Gagandeep and his two colleagues during the State Wild Life Week celebrations for saving the leopard.

While Mussoorie DFO A.K. Bannerji was taking day-to-day briefings on the health of ‘Raja’, Uttarakhand PCCF R.B.S Rawat visited the Malsi Park to take first-hand stock of the arrangements for ‘Raja’. For the Malsi park visitors too, ‘Raja’ holds special attraction.



CBRI — Boosting the Indian building industry
Vikas Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Roorkee, November 6
With an emphasis on indigenous building materials, design and construction to suit Indian conditions, the Central Building Research Institute (CBRI) has given a significant boost to the Indian building industry and at the same time led to substantial savings for the nation.

Since its inception in 1947, the CBRI has been assisting the building industry in finding timely, appropriate and economical solutions to the problems of material, rural and urban housing, energy conservation, efficiency, fire hazards, structural and foundation problems and disaster mitigation.

The Institute maintains linkages with international bodies like CIB, Netherlands; TWAS, Italy; BRE, United Kingdom; ASTM, U.S.A.; CSIRO, Australia; RILEM, France; BRS, Canada and UNCHS, Nairobi, Kenya. “Several building units all over the country have used our innovative construction techniques. And in doing so have effected savings of huge amounts of cement, steel and money. All this is in addition to savings in construction time, effective use of local materials, generation of employment and development of new construction skills. In the more than 60 years of its existence, CBRI based in Roorkee, has given a significant push to the Indian building industry,” says Dr. M.O. Garg, director of CBRI.

Some of the significant accomplishments of CBRI include devising of fire retardant treatment for particle boards, plywood, aircraft seat cushion, design of rural houses and construction methods for hilly areas; design and planning of Navodaya Vidyalaya schools throughout the country, besides evolving technology for production of clay flyash and sand lime bricks. Devising environment friendly termite control measures, lighting design of theatres, halls and auditoriums, utilisation of agro-wastes in manufacture of building materials etc, have been few other feats of this institute.

A constituent laboratory of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the CBRI had a beginning as a Building Research Unit housed in a couple of rooms in the Thomason College of Engineering (now the University of Roorkee) in 1947.

The Institute was charged with the responsibility of generating, cultivating and promoting building science and technology in the country. 



Girl finds unlikely cure in Viagra
Dr Sunil Sanon, who had been treating Jyoti, suffering from primary pulmonary hypertension, prescribed Viagra tablets to her. Subsequently, her condition has improved
Anmol Jain
Tribune News Service

Mussoorie, November 6
Viagra, essentially a drug used to correct erectile dysfunction among males, has been successfully used by a Mussoorie-based doctor to treat a girl suffering from primary pulmonary hypertension, a genetic disorder of the heart.

Jyoti, daughter of a tailor from an Uttarakhand village, suffered from fatigue, dizziness and breathlessness and was diagnosed with primary pulmonary hypertension in 1991. Much to Jyoti’s surprise, last year Dr. Sunil Sanon, a consultant physician who had been treating her since 1991, prescribed Viagra tablets to her and subsequently there has been a marked improvement in Jyoti’s condition. Jyoti is now working as a domestic help in Mussoorie. “Earlier I got tired and felt very weak after any physical activity but now I am now able to work quite normally,” she said.

“I am extremely grateful to Dr. Sanon for treating me and that too free of cost,” she added. Notably, primary pulmonary hypertension is a disease that causes continuous high blood pressure in the artery that carries blood from the heart to small vessels in the lungs. In severe cases this could lead to heart failure.

Latest medical research has established the potential of Viagra for the treatment of this disease and recently a case of a young girl being given this treatment by a London Hospital has also been in the news.

Dr Sanon opined that the kind of improvement in Jyoti’s condition signifies that Viagra could be much widely used for treating similar patients. While giving all credit to medical scientists from across the globe, he said: “I am happy that even a girl from a village in Uttarakhand has benefited from the latest breakthrough in medicine.”

Perhaps this is not merely a success for medical science or for Viagra. It is a success for those Indian doctors who, despite all odds, are trying to reach the poorest of the poor from remote villages and bringing them at par with the rest of the world.



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I like to read Dehradun Plus as it is so educative. I have been fond of trekking since my early days. And my service in the Army provided me with a lot of opportunities to further my hobby. Now my interest is in environmental studies as our environment is under threat from pollution. Therefore, the people must be made conscious about it. Print media can also play a meaningful role in this campaign. Even the Garhwal Himalayas have been effected by global warming caused by pollution.

— Mohan Singh Negi, Dehradun

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