Navy goes beyond the call of duty

As soon as one pictures of a military man, he is reminded of a personality with very stiff mannerism, but they are, in fact, not so. Rear Admiral Anura Danapala, who relinquished naval duties to which he was committed over the past 33 years, was an officer who showed enormous care for flora and fauna. The following are two incidents that took place during his tenure as Deputy Area Commander (DAC) of the Eastern Naval Command and the former DAC played a praiseworthy role marshalling his men for the rescue of helpless animals in a stressful state as a result of inevitable peril from predators in their own environment.

Among many stories we come across about tragedy befalls wild animals, the tale of ‘Scuba’ a fawn, who was born a couple of months back in the Naval Dockyard, Trincomalee was a heartwarming one. Injured due to an unknown reason, a female deer (Scuba’s mother) was roaming on the beach at the entrance to Nicholson Cove, at the Naval Dockyard Trincomalee. To its great misfortune, she was approached by a pack of wild dogs wandering in the Dockyard itself. The frightened poor animal began to escape and jumped into the churning waves of the nearby ocean to flee her assailants. But it was a daunting task to battle the strong currents which exhausted the deer in no time.

Luckily for her, a group of Navy divers who were engaged in a diving exercise nearby saw her vulnerability and rushed to the scene. Rescuing her was not as easy as one would think, as she was terrified by what happened around. However, the naval personnel were able to pull her into the boat, and rushed her to the Navy medics to nurse the wounds caused by dog bites. As she was not suitable to be released back into the jungles, the men kept the deer at the camp until she recovered from her injuries. To everyone’s surprise, a couple of days later, she gave birth to a nice little fawn whom was fondly called ‘Scuba’. After spending a few more days with the sailors, the mother and son set out for the jungle, leaving memories with those involved in their rescue.

The following event took place in the Naval Dockyard itself also reveals another fascinating story of the jungle. A few months back, upon receiving information about an elk and her calf with injuries roaming the Naval Dockyard, a team of Special Boat Squadron and medical personnel set out to find them for possible help. Finally, the search-party was able to locate the duo deep into the Elephant Point jungle, after several hours of quest. The newborn calf was having great trouble in walking due to an ankle injury. When it was felt the helpless young animal needed immediate treatment, the naval personnel captured him very safely and took the calf to a makeshift location near the Dockyard Hospital and medication began.

Shortly after the treatment began, a strange sight caught everyone's eye. Whilst the baby elk was undergoing medical treatment, the mother elk was standing nearby, watching the entire operation. She dared to stand out in a crowd, and it was clear that maternal love has far greater strength than what everyone else thought, even in the animal kingdom. Then, the calf was swayed for recovery with mother elk after nearly two hours of medical attention. The mother elk's affection for her baby while he was receiving treatment was a heartwarming sight for all present at the scene. Much to the delight of everyone, the calf elk has been observed wandering out and about in the Naval Dockyard premises on many occasions and it looks to be in good health, thankful to the tender hearts of Men in Blue.