Hundreds of livestock stranded in Uttarakhand floods face starvation, injury and even death

While there has been huge loss of lives in the recent Uttarakhand disaster, the plight of horses and mules and other livestock in the region has mostly gone unnoticed. Despite efforts being made by some social groups and organisations, a large number of horses and mules that used to ferry pilgrims and tourists in the Kedar and Bardinath valley are still stranded at many places without proper food and care. 

Thousands of these animals lost their lives in the flash-floods, while those who were seriously injured also perished as they could not get medical attention. But now animal welfare activists and organisations are demanding that the government should make arrangements to get fodder air-dropped for horses and mules stuck in higher reaches of Garhwal Himalayas, which are still cut off.

 “The latest details from Uttarakhand collected by our volunteers say that over 1,000 horses and mules are there near Hemkund starving, while there are another 350 in Jingurpani, 250 in Rambada and 50 near Kedarnath that need immediate attention. Another 15 horses are stranded across Mandakini river near Gaurikund and there is no way to reach them…We have urged the government to immediately get fodder dropped for them so that they can survive,” said Monica Puri of People for Animals (PFA). 

Narrating how horses and other stranded animals were risking their lives while grazing, Alaknanda Ghaati Shilpi Federation chairperson J.P. Maithani said: “Starving animals continue to fall off the slopes in search for grassy patches. The situation on the Hemkund trek is getting more and more critical by the day. Our volunteers visited Pulana village and found that more than 350 animals are stranded there but no air dropping of fodder is being done. A little further up in Ghangaria also animals continue to die of starvation. Despite tons of animal fodder lying at airports, helipads and godowns, it is not reaching these hapless animals.”