“It took us around ten hours and we had to put in immense efforts. But the takeaway at the end of the day was, we had rescued five turtles from the abandoned well,” said Rajesh N, an Animal Welfare Activist from Bengaluru, who is also the founding member of Happy Paws Foundation.
One of the most challenging rescue operation was a few days back at Koramangala, Bengaluru, near an abandoned well where five turtles were dumped by someone. Out the five, three were nonindigenous species, Red Eared Sliders, not native to Indian wildlife. Upon getting to know about the turtles thrown at the 30 ft deep well, Rajesh rushed to the spot. Speaking to The Logical Indian, Rajesh said, “The well was infested with mosquitoes and people living in that area had generously and conveniently dumped their garbage in the well. We had to figure a way to rescue these turtles but at the same time had to take care that no other damage is caused.”
They decided to pump out the water and channelise it to a lake. Expert cleaners got down to execute the mission. Health hazards of climbing down 30 feet is what bothered them, yet necessary know-how on rescuing amphibians was imparted to the good cleaners. They climbed down with boxes and brought the turtles.
“The path to rescue these turtles wasn’t smooth at all. We faced a lot of opposition from the slum dwellers nearby and at one point of time even the police wasn’t willing to cooperate with us”, Rajesh said. After immense hard work spanning across a time frame of over ten hours, the turtles were rescued.
The 24-year-old mechatronics engineer is one of the founding members of Happy Paws Foundation. Other team members include Rekha Prasad (pack leader, a techie, with an immense knowledge of felines), Dr. Ashwin K. (a veterinary doctor, providing active support for the night-time rescue operations) Rashmi (an engineering student) and Shrikar Venkatesh (a member of the advisory board of Happy Paws Foundation and a wildlife photographer). The organisation has conducted over 800 rescue operation over the last 11 months.
Felines, canines, birds, turtles and even reptiles, they have rescued whoever was in need of their support. They rescue, treat, care for and rehabilitate animals with the aim of ultimately giving them loving homes. Birds, most often are released back to their natural habitat. “No matter the location or scale of the deployment, the Happy Paws Foundation is prepared to take on animal cruelty cases when needed – from initial investigations to the final placement of rescued animals,” Rajesh said, his voice beaming with confidence.
The trust doesn’t have any designated shelter home as of now, but Rajesh and his team of friends have managed to save the lives of many animals lying on the streets. He brings them home back with him if they need more care. The foundation even has a dedicated section for pigeons as well. “A couple of weeks back, we had rescued a cat, the cat was stuck on a branch, about seventy feet high. Everybody tried their bit, but was unable to get her down but was unable. We went to rescue her and now she has a loving home,” Rajesh said.
Apart from conducting rescue operations, across the city, Happy Paws Foundation has the motto of educating people more about animals rights. They visit schools and colleges with the motive to educate youngsters about the ethical treatment of animals. “We conducted a session on snake bites with the Army as well. Educating them about snake bites and how to mitigate them has been one of our recent involvements.” They also organise vaccination drives in collaboration with other NGOs.
Upon asking about their modus operandi, Rajesh said that they take on the extensive investigation before rescuing an animal. At this juncture, he recounted an incident where they had built a makeshift home for a pregnant dog to ensure that the dog is taken good care of.
On an ending note, Rajesh says, “What we need to understand is, unethical treatment of dogs are on the rise. They are being bred in puppy making factories and only grow up to be weak and more prone to diseases. I urge all to adopt indie pups and give them loving homes. There are so many animals deserving our attention, but we hardly pay any heed.”
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