RESQ D.A.R.T - RESQ's Distressed Animal Response and Training Unit

Going above and beyond for the animals who need rescue from extreme situations!

Whether a dog is stuck on the 18th floor ledge of a building or a bird is entangled in manja on a 50 feet high coconut tree…

Whether a leopard has fallen down a well or a bull that has fallen in an underground water tank…

Whether it is a kitten or a snake stuck in a drain pipe or puppies trapped under a mountain of rubble..

Whether it is a crocodile stuck in a toxic sewer canal or a leopard caught in a hunting trap…

Whether urban or rural..

Whether domestic or wild..

..they are rescued by the DART, a mobile rescue team that goes above and beyond for animals stuck in extreme situations. 

What is the DART and why is it needed?

Over the years, human-dominated landscapes have seen an increasing number of animals getting caught in extreme situations. A multitude of resources are available for human-rescues however, the special expertise required in safely rescuing animals from difficult situations was a gaping vacuum that has now been filled by the DART, an elite mobile technical rescue team for Animal Emergencies and Disaster Response. It operates 24/7, 365 days a year and rescues all kinds of animals, domestic or wild.

How does the DART operate?

  1. AID Alert 

    Our team receives information about an animal in distress (AID Alert) either directly from the public community through our organisation RESQ Charitable Trust's helplines or we get called in by governmental bodies like the Forest Department, Animal Husbandry, Fire Department or Local Municipal Corporations and Village Grampanchayats to assist in an animal rescue. We have been deployed for various kinds of technical animal rescues and disaster response across Pune District and in several parts of Maharashtra. 

  2. The Team 

    Our team consists of individuals who are trained professionals in search and rescue operations equipped with the knowledge, skill and gear required for animal handling, safe retrieval and post-rescue management. We have members on our team who have combined their passion for rescuing animals with their extensive experience in rock climbing and rappelling as well as veterinarians and species-specific animal rescuers whose expertise in animal handling and behaviour which are key to a successful technical rescue operation. 

  3. Types of Animals and Situations

    From urban areas, the maximum number of calls we receive are for birds, snakes, dogs, cats and cattle. From rural areas especially the ones that have a close proximity to forest land, a lot of domestic animals (dogs, cattle) and wildlife (leopards, deer, hyenas, monkeys, snakes) who thrive in agricultural lands are commonly reported when they get stuck in either a conflict situation or a situation that they are unable to escape from. Sometimes the landscape is not clearly defined and an uncommon situation gets presented to our DART Team, like a crocodile we rescued from a toxic sewer canal or a Indian Bison who strayed into urban areas that we helped safely divert into a nearby forest area. What remains constant is the team's ability to revisit strategy, adapt, improvise and never give up on an animal in need of help. 

  4. The DART Protocol/ Process 

    When an animal gets stuck in an extreme situation, the critical components of a rescue are:

    • Swift Response 
    • Trained Personnel
    • Strategic Plan 
    • Professional Equipment
    • Patience and perseverance!

Once the animal is rescued, an evaluation is conducted whether it needs medical intervention or if it is fit for immediate release. For wildlife that may have fallen in wells or have their limbs caught in hunting traps, our veterinarians along with Forest Department officials ascertain if it is should be immediately released in a safe habitat or whether it requires medical observation, treatment or surgery at the RESQ Wildlife Treatment Transit Centre before it can be released back. 

During natural disasters like the floods in Kerala in 2018, Pune Sangli Floods in 2019, Cyclone Nisarga in 2020 as well as challenging rescues during the COVID-19 pandemic, our team was able to rescue scores of animals efficiently and safely owing to their knowledge of technical rescue techniques and professional equipment, which has been graciously donated to RESQ over the years.