Indonesian village gives owls their jobs back

The local government has supported the program by putting into place a law that bans shooting or disturbing birds in the area. (Shutterstock)
Updated 11 October 2017

Indonesian village gives owls their jobs back

TLOGOWERU:The owls of Tlogoweru have their jobs back.
Six years ago farmers in this small Indonesian village were fighting a losing battle against rats and other pests ravaging their crops.
They tried smoking out the pests, but it failed. Hunting them was also impractical. The villagers also wanted to avoid using pesticides for fear of damaging their crops.
Pujo Arto had an idea. Bring back a natural predator — the barn owl.
Since then, the farmer-turned-breeder has raised nearly 2,000 owls through his Natural Predator Program and released them into the wild to combat pests.
“We fostered awareness within our community by building homes for these owls, while government officials helped in implementing laws,” said Arto, 50.
Common barn owls, due to their size and diet, were most suited for the job, Arto said.
In the wild, a barn owl will lay between three and 12 eggs, but not many nestlings survive. Arto brings the eggs back to the facility to increase the survival rate, releasing the birds back into the wild when they are four months old.
So far, Arto has set up 140 nesting boxes in the village for the owls to lay their eggs, the houses standing tall on posts amidst the green fields of corn.
Deforested land used for agriculture reduces locations for nesting, so the boxes provide the birds with an incentive to stay and thrive.
The local government has supported Arto’s program by putting into place a law that bans shooting or disturbing birds in the area.
Thanks to Arto’s initiative, Tlogoweru village has now become a popular destination for people looking to learn about the importance of maintaining a balanced ecosystem in nature.


Badly injured street dog swaps India for English countryside

Updated 18 November 2020

Badly injured street dog swaps India for English countryside

  • Street dog badly injured after being run over by a train in the northern Indian state of Haryana last October

NEW DELHI: With a wagging tail, an Indian street dog that lost its front legs in a train accident headed Wednesday for a new life in the English countryside.
The three-year-old mutt was found “covered in blood” and badly injured after being run over by a train at Faridabad in the northern Indian state of Haryana last October.
A railways constable took the wounded bitch to a local shelter that looks after some of the thousands of stray dogs, cows and monkeys maimed on India’s treacherous railways and roads every year.
“It is almost impossible to save such a badly injured dog,” veterinarian Mahesh Verma said in a graphic video shared by the People for Animals Trust that named the pooch Rocky.
“There was a lot of bleeding... we arranged a healthy dog and transfused blood.”
Vets had to amputate the forelegs, leaving the dog with stumps. Her back legs were also badly injured.
But the dog – although not named after the famous “Rocky” Sylvester Stallone movie – nevertheless battled as hard as the underdog boxer to recover, using her chin for balance as she hobbled about.
The rescue organization’s video about her plight went viral, attracting the attention of the global dog rescue group Wild at Heart Foundation.
They found her a home in the rural Cotswolds region of south-west England, while an Indian living in London paid for new artificial legs.
In July Rocky took her first steps on her new limbs, made by a leading doctor in Jaipur, and over several months gradually learned to walk again.
Rocky boarded a plane in New Delhi early Wednesday bound for London, where she is due to be collected by the foundation and her new owner.
She appeared to be taking everything in her shaky stride.
“She has always been fond of traveling, so I don’t think she realized she was going away from us. She was happy, wagging her tail as we said goodbye,” Ravi Dubey from the People for Animals Trust told AFP.
“We miss her already. Everyone is looking at the stories published about her yesterday and watching her old videos and photos. We are at the shelter home right now and not seeing her in her usual spot is heartbreaking.”
An estimated 30 million stray dogs roam India’s streets.
“In India, pets are often abandoned and abused. We are very happy that Rocky will have a safe and open space,” said Dubey.
“She made it,” Dubey said, hailing the animal’s “incredible resilience, strength and spirit to live.”
“She’s a fighter.”