When Thiruvananthapuram zoo's senior veterinary surgeon Dr Jacob Alexander paid a visit recently to the State Special Branch Additional Police Director, the office initially thought that he was in the wrong room.
However, once he explained why he was there, ADGP Vinod Kumar IPS had a reason to give Kerala Police's bomb squad a novel mission.
The squad, which has equipment ranging from the simple metal detectors to the high-end ones used for special operations and VVIP visits, was approached with an interesting request by the doctor. And it had something to do with the African Cape buffalo, a very rare animal in Indian zoos.
Apparently, the zoo authorities had recently renovated the iron fence that leads to the open stables of the animal, and was planning to house two buffaloes, aged 16 and 12, in it.
After the five-month-long renovation process, the contractor had removed the leftover pieces and residue, as well. However, the authorities noticed that there are still a few sharp pieces that are tough to spot with the naked eye, hidden in the soil and grass of the area.
According to Dr Jacob, if they get stuck to these animals' bodies, it could affect their internal organs like reticulum, diaphragm and heart; and could result in infection, swelling and even cardiac arrest.
It would also lead them to a condition called Traumatic Reticulopericarditis.
The ADGP was convinced that the squad could help the zoo in this noble cause. The team, consisting of Sunil M R, Sreekuaran H, Krishnakumar, Sreejith, Praveen E B, Alex Berlin, Ratheesh, Wils Kumar and Bobanlal checked the surroundings and removed the leftovers from the space in about two days.
The zoo authorities even awarded an appreciation letter to the squad for their service.