Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Cat that went missing at Delhi Airport reunited with family after four-day search and rescue mission

For a better part of last week, pet cat Nala had the adventure of a lifetime at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport, which involved her going missing and a search and rescue mission involving airport authorities, airline officials and animal rescue organisations. Fortunately for all parties, the saga had a happy ending when Nala was found in the airport's cargo hold and reunited with her owner. It all began last week when Astha Shah, who was travelling from Bangalore to Delhi, realised upon reaching the city that one of her two cats she was travelling with was missing. "House cats struggle to survive on their own for long and the thought of my cat lost in the busy Delhi airport had me in tears," recalls Astha.
Both of Astha's cats were being transported in IATA-certified pet carriers in the Air India flight. Preliminary investigations revealed that one of the pet carrier boxes had come undone in the plane’s cargo compartment. As a result, eight-month-old Nala had slipped out of the plane and was lost in the vast space of the airport premises. Astha was to travel ahead to Ahmedabad, but she cancelled her travel and stayed back to help find her pet. The Airport authorities and GMR began a search for the missing feline, taking assistance from animal welfare NGO Wildlife SOS. The rescue team placed food bait at several locations across the airport to lure the missing cat.
It took the team four days of tracking, but Nala was eventually found safe – albeit scared – hiding in a cargo hold area on Thursday. Given how scared she was, it took rescuers several hours to coax the cat out of her hiding place.
08/09/20 Abhimanyu Mathur/Times of India
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