The welfare of animals and birds is often neglected in India. Seeing the plight of these creatures this trio of brothers started providing treatment to birds and animals in 2008. Since then they have been providing treatment to the injured wild birds and rescuing animals. Vishal and Nikhil Kolekar are Animal Welfare officers and Kunal Kolekar is a Snake catcher.
Nikhil says that, “I love animals and having been in close contact with animals since childhood, it was all but obvious to follow the path of helping birds and animals.” It started off as a hobby but later it turned into serious social activism. Initially they used to rescue just snakes as the area they lived in is a semi forest area and is abundant with snakes. They say, “When people see a snake their basic instinct is to kill it, though only 20% snakes are poisonous. People aren’t aware of this fact and thus we started off with this initiative.” But later on as their contacts grew, and people became aware of their work, they branched out to rescue mainly birds -but animals too. They have since been rescuing animals for the past 7 years.
In the beginning their families were quite skeptical about their line of work, as according to them, it is quite a dangerous job especially handling snakes. Also, the inefficiency and lack of knowledge of the Animal welfare officials was a thorn in their side. Nikhil says that, “The biggest grievance is the lack of strong laws which helps the offenders to escape without even a scratch. The laws haven’t been upgraded since 1956.” Also, they get no support from the government, monetary or otherwise. Recently, they had caught a man who was in illegal possession of a crocodile and two monkeys. “The man was let out due to his connection with a political bigwig.” At such times their rescue efforts go in vain. They have also rescued a Flamingo who had injured his leg and after proper treatment the flamingo was healthy enough to fly. Injured Kites and Eagles are also treated by them in large numbers.
On being asked about the sparse number of birds this year compared to the previous years, he said, “The height of the mobile towers is quite low and is not constructed according to the height prescribed by the laws which kills the birds. Also, during festivals, especially Diwali people are ignored about the noise levels and also by the smoke emitted by the crackers which suffocates the birds and animals and kills them.” Funds to provide for the treatment are also difficult to find. They mostly spend a part of their salary for this noble cause.
They have rescued around 700 birds till date. “Some die even before they are brought to us as they are reported to us late. People aren’t aware that medicines are available for them at basic medical stores and they can be administered at home.”
Their future plans are to spread awareness among people through radio, programs in schools and colleges and at public places. Also, they want people to report any injured birds and animals as soon as possible as they can be treated.
He says that, “We love animals and we will continue our efforts for this cause irrespective of the hurdles on our path.”
To contact Nikhil Kolekar -9594992886