Often while travelling on national highways we come across animals injured because of the incoming traffic. Although we see them suffering, we never think it as our responsibility to tend to their wounds or see if they survived or not. These innocent animals never get the aid they need and end up dying on the road itself, unnoticed by the vehicles. There are, however, a few noble souls who value the lives of these animals above theirs and have the desire to help and protect them in any way. Peera Ram Bishnoi, a mechanic from Rajasthan is one such person, who in the past 10 years has saved over 1100 animals.
Animal Lover since childhood
Born to a farmer’s family in a small village near the border of western Rajasthan, Peera Ram often saw Peacocks, rabbits, deer, other animals on the farm, when he was working with his parents. He often used to ask his parents about why they allowed the animals to do as they please, to which they answered that they were as dependent on them as they are on us. Gradually, he grew affectionate towards these animals and couldn’t be separated from them.
The first animal saving
Having a small tire puncture shop near the National Highway-56, Peera often heard from the passing drivers about animal accidents. There were no guards or authorities around a 300 km radius to assist these animals which made him feel helpless. Finally, he decided to take the matter in his own hands when he saw a chinkara whimper in pain and drag itself to the side of the street after getting hit by a car. Peera took the injured animal to the nearest clinic and paid for the treatment himself. After this incident, there was no stopping him from rescuing these animals. Over the next five years, he took all kinds of distressed animals and birds home to nurse them back to health. His family, who loved animals as much as he were more than happy to see him do such a noble work.
10 years, more than 1100 animals rescued
Peera has rescued rare species like the Blackbuck, Indian hare, migratory Demoiselle, Hanuman Langur and desert fox to name a few. To expand his work, he decided to register an NGO independently, Peera, along with four other activists set up an organisation called the ‘Shri Jambheswar Paryavaran Evam Jeev Raksha Pardes Sanstha’ on June 5, 2012. His worked inspired many people around the village, who gathered together to lend a helping hand. What started in a 50x 50 ft shelter, has now turned into a lush green farm spread over 2.5 hectares, where almost 2000 people work in his farm and 450 animals are treated at a time. Peera has pulled in his own money for the construction and facilities, but his well-wishers have also helped him a lot regarding the functioning of the shelter in form of donations and manpower. He takes pride in the survival rates of animals in his shelter which is 45%, far better compared to the veterinary hospitals whose rates are lesser than 11%. He believes that there is a difference in which the animals are cared for in his shelter and the clinics.” In government veterinary hospitals, people work in shifts and for salaries. Our work, however, is ruled by emotions, is straight from the heart and round-the-clock.”, Peera said while talking to The Better India.
Not all sunshine and rainbows
However Peera is taking all these efforts for a noble cause, the poachers and hunters were not happy with his work, as he was interfering their business. Complaints were sent by these hunters to the forest authorities saying that they were harbouring wildlife in the confines of their home and treating them poorly. The authorities arrived at their home with the intention of arresting him but were astonished by the work he was doing.
“The authorities congratulated me on my work. I showed them my membership as part of the larger organization conserving wildlife, and they decided to help me. They help me acquire government membership.”, Peera told The Better India. The forest department also ensured that he was given guards to patrol the sensitive areas regularly. There have also been a few attacks on his life, none of them threatening enough to scare him away. He says that he would rather die protecting the animals than stand by and watch the massacre. Peera refuses to step back against these hunters and poachers and says that there is a legacy in his family of sacrificing lives for protecting trees and animals, referring to Amrita Devi, who in the year 1730 was beheaded along with her three daughters and 300 other Bishnois while they clung to the Khejri trees to protect them from being cut down. He values the lives of these animals over his any day and so does his fellow workers, one of whom recently died to protect an injured deer from a few Rajputs.
Getting recognized for his virtuous work
The Royal Bank of Scotland foundation recently felicitated Peera with the Earth Heroes Award at the eight editions of their award. N Sunil Kumar, head of the RBS foundation, says that Peera has not only put a significant amount of time and resources in helping these animals but also build a community around it.”Compassion and conservation are two different things. And Peera Ramji’s work is taking compassion to an institutional level,” Sunil told The Better India. According to Peera, there are a lot of people like him who have the vision and will to help these animals but lack the resources.
The Logical Indian appreciates his efforts for working towards the betterment and the welfare of the animals.