Nilgai runs amok near Parliament House

Nilgai runs amok near Parliament House
The high-security zone around Parliament on Thursday morning had an unusual visitor. A nilgai was spotted running around in a frenzy.

The large nilgai or the blue bull (Boselaphus tragocamelus) was spotted by passers-by at Vijay Chowk near Parliament and was caught after a four-hour-long operation using rescue nets.

The antelope is presumed to have strayed out of the central Ridge, a forested patch a little distance away. The rescue operation lasted hours as the nilgai was running around for cover after being startled by the traffic. The rapid response unit of Wildlife SOS received a distress call on their 24-hour helpline at around 9.30 am about the animal being spotted on Rajpath, which houses the Parliament complex and top government offices. The NGO dispatched a 10-member team, which identified the nilgai to be a full-grown female.

“It took us a few hours to carry out the rescue as we did not want to ambush the distressed animal. After waiting for it to settle down, we managed to cautiously approach the nilgai and used a safety net to transfer it to our rescue vehicle,” said Harshad Solanki, rescue coordinator with Wildlife SOS.

The animal is the largest Asian antelope and is endemic to the Indian subcontinent. This species is protected under Schedule III of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. The animal is currently kept under observation and will be released into its natural habitat once deemed fit. “Often the plight of urban wildlife is dismissed because city dwellers consider them to be a nuisance,” said Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder of Wildlife SOS.

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