With help from our wonderful supporters, the good work of Animal Rahat grows ever stronger and more influential. There’s lots of good news below, and you’ll see the look of contentment on the faces of Kalu, Roushya, Janu, and Ruby—just four of the countless animals whose lives have taken a 180-degree turn for the better after joining the Animal Rahat family.This handsome water buffalo, Kalu, who came to us in a bicycle basket as a calf, loved the monsoon-filled pond at our new sanctuary and took several dips a day until it dried up. Look at his expression—Webster’s should use this photo to illustrate the meaning of “serenity.”
The relaxed fellow in the foreground above is Roushya. He came to us back in 2012, among the 10 bullocks who were replaced with mini-tractors during the trial phase of our Tractor Project at sugar mills—a program that has now saved more than 5,000 bullocks from hauling enormous loads of sugar cane for miles along rutted roads. It was at our original makeshift Home for Retired Bullocks that he first experienced life without whips, painful nose ropes, and forced labor. And now he gets to experience even more freedom and comfort at our new, proper sanctuary, where the space allows us to forgo any tethers, which had to be used previously to separate bullocks who got testy with each other over “turf wars.”
We’re continuing to make progress on construction at the sanctuary. We’ve now completed the fence and wall around the well, and we’ve started creating the first of our sand pits so that the camels and horses will be able to take sand baths, something they all love.
From our previous property, the six ponies confiscated from circuses were recently transferred to our partner sanctuary in the Nilgiri Hills, and all the other animals—bullocks, horses, camels, and dogs—have now been transferred to our sanctuary except for one, a bullock named Abdul.
He had reached such an old age that his mobility had become severely impaired and he could no longer digest his food. We laid him to rest with love and respect.
Below is a picture of him when he came to us in late 2011. You can tell from his protruding ribs that he hadn’t received proper nutrition in a long time. At 18 years old, he was already past his working age, and his owner had recently undergone back surgery and couldn’t afford to care for him any longer.
If not for the help of Animal Rahat, Abdul would have been condemned to months of wasting away or been sold for meat and faced a terrifying death in a slaughterhouse. But thanks to our generous supporters, he experienced five years of labor-free life with a full stomach, shelter from sun and rain, excellent veterinary care, daily grooming sessions—a real pleasure for bullocks—and the company of lots of friends.
Several other sanctuary residents recently embarked upon a new chapter of their lives: We found adoring homes for four dogs we had rescued. Above, Janu is pictured with a member of her new family. We took her in after she had been hit by a motorcycle as a puppy.
We also found homes for Bubbly, Trophy, and Ruby—three of the many dogs we’ve confiscated from cruel circuses. Ruby is pictured below with her new adoptive dad, the son of our sanctuary caretaker, Prabhakar Koli.
We provided 1,045 animals with crucial veterinary care last month and addressed numerous cruelty cases—including that of this calf whose owner had put him in a muzzle made of thorns to stop him from drinking his own urine. The calf was spotted by an Animal Rahat staff member, who explained to the owner that this behavior was caused by a mineral deficiency. He then recommended a mineral supplement and made the owner remove the muzzle.
Of the numerous animals we rescued last month, a large number were baby birds. The stories of just a few of our avian friends who got a second chance at life, thanks to Animal Rahat, appear below.
We received a call from the neighbor of a man who had a large tree full of bird nests with nestlings inside. The birds were baya weavers—so named for their elaborately woven nests. The property owner had hired someone who was just about to knock down the tree with an excavator. Our team members arrived within minutes and stopped the machine operator, and the neighbor then handed them the nest shown below that had already been knocked down. They gently tucked the nestlings back inside, rehung the nest, and persuaded the owner to leave the tree standing until the babies had left the nests, which he agreed to do.
This baby cuckoo was brought to our Sangli office by caring schoolchildren who had found him helpless on the ground. Although he had no injuries, he was too young to fly, so he is being cared for at the home of an Animal Rahat volunteer and will be released when he is able to fly.
Cormorants, herons, and other water birds use an urban public park in Sangli called Shastri Udyan as a breeding spot. The park falls under the jurisdiction of the Forest Department, which is supposed to protect the wildlife there. As you can see in the photo below, the tall trees harbor dozens of nests. However, they are so high that when strong winds or other mishaps cause baby birds to tumble out, the fall is usually fatal.
Someone contacted Animal Rahat to let us know that a great number of chicks were falling and dying. We met with Forest Department officials as well as the mayor and persuaded them to install temporary nets below the trees to catch the falling chicks. We then trained Forest Department officials on how to install the nets so that they could do it on their own next year. We also recruited several bird experts to help care for the chicks until they were old enough to be released.
Thanks to Animal Rahat, the baby cormorant seen above was saved from a fatal fall, as were 134 other baby birds in the park who are all being carefully raised by experts and will be released soon.
In other exciting news, our work to reduce the population of homeless dogs through our spay/neuter initiative hits new heights every month. In the past month alone, we sterilized 103 dogs in the villages of Aitwade and Pathari. Next month, we’ll be setting up a temporary spay/neuter clinic in Jamb—the latest village to join our spay/neuter program.
On behalf of the hundreds of animals who benefited from the work of Animal Rahat this past month, thank you for your compassion. We are grateful for your interest in this effective organization!