Is there anything more than wonderful than reading about a concerned member of the public who, whatever their means, does their very best to help vulnerable animals ignored by authorities? We have been treated to many of these hope-restoring tales, reminding us that we can have faith in humanity after all.
And now, prepare to be moved by the story of three brothers in Mumbai, India, who have helped save over 700 wild birds! Vishal and Nikhil Kolekar are animal welfare officers and their brother Kunal is a snake catcher. Together, the three brothers have put their experience at caring for animals to good use by voluntarily treating, rehabilitating, and releasing injured birds.
They began in 2008 by rescuing snakes in the woods around their home, explaining that “when people see a snake their basic instinct is to kill it, though only 20 percent of snakes are poisonous. People aren’t aware of this fact and thus we started off with this initiative.” As local awareness of their work began to grow, the brothers received more requests for help, and they estimate that they have since saved over 700 birds and countless other animals from death.
Nikhil explained to MaStyleCare that their reason for doing this is simple: “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.”
Since 2008, they have carried out this work with no financial support from governmental authorities. Nikhil has also identified the lack of strong animal protection regulations as a major setback to their efforts, “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.”
The brothers have rescued a large variety of bird species – including flamingos, kites, and eagles – but are haunted by the memory of the animals they could not save. “Some die before they are brought to us,” Nikhil reflected sadly, “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.” For this reason, the Kolekars are now planning to run an awareness-raising program through local radio broadcasts, and school and college campus visits. They want to emphasize the importance of reporting an injured bird or animal as soon as possible so that they can be treated quickly.
Nikhil has vowed that “we love animals and we will continue our efforts for this cause irrespective of the hurdles on our path.”
The Ministry of India recently provided a major boost to the almost-extinct white-backed vulture by restricting the use of diclofenac, a medication that causes liver failure in the animals. Special “restaurants” are also now being set up for the vultures, where they can consume food guaranteed to be diclofenac-free. And with people like the Kolekar brothers doing their best to fight on their behalf, it looks like there is hope for the country’s bird population!
Image source: MaStyleCare