By Taniya Dutta
Distressing images of a young wolf struggling to free its head from a plastic jar have emerged from a forest in India.
Wildlife photographer Tanay Panpalia, 26, has released images of the young wolf, which was eventually rescued after three hours of struggle, in a bid to raise awareness of the global plastic waste crisis.
Tanay spotted the wolf sitting restlessly under a tree with its pack around it, while on a visit to take pictures of small birds in Paradgaon Lake in Nagpur, central India, in sweltering 46 to 47 degree Celsius.
Tanay – who was able to save the wolf – took the images in 2013 but has recently released them for the first time after being horrified by the increased impact plastic waste is having on the world’s wildlife.
He said: “Seeing a wolf in the wild had always been my dream.
“Being a wildlife enthusiast, I would be fascinated by wolf images posted on wildlife forums and would dream of sighting and photographing the majestic beauty.
“But what we found after following the pack was a young wolf whose head was stuck in a plastic container.
“The young wolf seemed to be very weak as it was unable to eat due to that plastic container.
“Luckily, it had pores which was helpful for it to breathe and drink water, probably keeping it alive.
“I had these images for a very long time, but I thought it was important to release them now.
“The reason for the delayed release is the plastic awareness which is being currently undertaken very actively.”
Tanay and his friends were determined to save the animal and immediately jumped to its help.
They informed a trained rescue team of the forest department while keeping a watch on the pack.
Risking their lives, the young men followed the distressed wolf for two hours to keep track of its location while professional help was on the way.
Tanay said: “This young wolf kept on running in that habitat for around two hours and we kept on following it keeping him under our watch until the arrival of the rescue team.
“We were scared as we were on foot as against the pack of 10 wolves, with no safety equipment in hand, and were dehydrated, but we wanted to save hom.
“The forest department team reached the spot in two hours, and then with the help of a rescue kit, we were able to catch it.
“We were successful in removing its face from that plastic container, and there were no external injuries to the wolf.
“We kept on showering water on it to bring down its body temperature and released it back in the wild.
“It ran away swiftly and joined the pack later. The rescue operation lasted for around three hours.”
“The other 10 members of the pack had a watch over us from a distance.”