I imagine that most cattle living in the western world of intensive farming might feel envious if they knew how cows and other domestic animals here were mainly free to roam at will and live a relatively free existence. But freedom usually comes at a cost and some local cattle have quite a hard time living here in Goa. With progress and the passing of time the once quiet roads and lanes where the heaviest traffic was not so long ago probably no more hazardous than an ox cart, conditions have changed dramatically. The roads are improved and coated with hard surfaces that enable modern fast, powerful vehicles to transport people in the constant rush of the modern world where everyone wants to be somewhere fast.
Nandini the cow was already having a tough time, she was very undernourished and heavily pregnant when things just got worse for her. Night time is even more dangerous on the roads for darker coloured animals who are not as visible in poor light. One evening Nandini was hit by a car and sustained a broken leg.But thanks to IAR Goa's Animal Tracks help was swiftly on hand. Nandini was gently transported to the centre in the purpose built cattle ambulance. The medical team splinted her broken leg and settled Nandini into the safe sanctuary of Animal Track's Goshala where numerous cattle are taken care of whilst they recover from illness or injury.
Although she was safe, cared for and well fed the team were nevertheless concerned for the unborn calf and the mother. With Nandini's poor condition and the stress and trauma of the accident is was a worry that the calf would not survive. But soon after one morning the staff were overjoyed to discover that Nandini had delivered a perfect bull calf effortlessly during the previous night. Much excitement ensued as we all wanted to greet the new arrival and welcome him into the world.
Resident dog Stella was particularly attentive, somehow understanding that Nandini was in need of some extra help caring for the calf with her own restricted mobility while her leg healed.Stella took on the self appointed roll of minder for young Nanson and vigilantly kept watch, staying protectively close to mother and calf ensuring the other animals didn't become too enthusiastic with the new arrival. And so whilst Nandini recovers with plentiful food and shelter from harm, the young Nanson thrives within the safety of his extended family of human and animal friends at Animal Tracks where the only life he's ever known so far is secure from trouble and stress.
Of course the day will eventually come for mother and son to leave Animal Tracks and resume their place in the world. Let us hope that they both keep safe and healthy, and at least with Nanson being a little white bull, he'll be visibly easier for speeding traffic to avoid in the dark.
But please spare a thought and consider all the other creatures that may be out and about and vulnerable in the darkness whilst you're travelling through the night.