And now for the sad news I didn't have the heart to post before.
My sweet brindled friend Bandu died in August, of a neglected maggot infestation on the head.
On my last visit to Tadoba (mid-September) I stayed at the MTDC lodge and of course I looked for him soon after arrival. One of the lodge staff told me what had happened.
He had the wound for about ten days, and it had become really huge and he had became weak, and finally he had died in the garden quite close to the dining room. The boy pointed out the spot where Bandu lay down for the last time.
I told the boy maggot infestations can be prevented if turmeric powder is applied on the wound right from the start; that maggots can be killed with kerosene if nothing else is available -
But my words fell on deaf ears. "It had rotted too much," was the boy's only response. His tone had the calm finality of many rural uneducated people, who firmly believe they have far greater medical knowledge than we city folk do.
There wasn't much point continuing the conversation. Many people in these villages neglect even their own diseases and those of their family members, so the thought of medicating a dog probably seems outlandish to them.
If a wound is in a place the dog can lick, they usually remove the fly eggs and maggots by themselves and heal up without help. But head and neck wounds are the fatal ones.
My poor friend died in pain, which is probably the fate of many dogs who fall prey to screw-worm flies in these remote areas where vets are inaccessible or largely inactive.
But at least he was treated kindly while he lived, and fed well, and given a nice place to stay.
My memories of Tadoba are inextricably linked to my memories of this gentle dog. He was there every time right from my first visit in January 2008. I don't know whether I want to stay at the MTDC lodge any more. I'll wait till it's time for my next trip and then decide.
You can see some pictures of Bandu in these earlier posts: there won't be any more.
Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve