When we call Dr Andra Phaneendra, a wildlife veterinary consultant, he has just returned after rescuing a hare from its burrow which was flooded in the recent Andhra rains. “The legs are already stiff and weak. I think the animal was stuck inside the hole for a long time,” the doctor says, as he talks about how there is no proper mechanism to rescue animals stuck during calamities.
If you are wondering what a veterinary consultant is doing in a flood ravaged village in East Godavari, you should know that the doctor has been doing this for the past 10 years in various parts of Andhra Pradesh. While we may know of wildlife rescuers like Vaava Suresh in Kerala, who rescue snakes that stray into human habitats, Phaneendra, in the past decade, has rescued over 300 wild animals, ranging from a mouse deer to a leopard. He then treats them on the spot or rehabilitates them in his clinic until they recover.
Phaneendra, who works as a consultant to the Andhra Pradesh Animal Husbandry Department, started his own wildlife veterinary clinic Paws and Claws in 2011. His clinic in itself is a mini-museum of birds and reptiles where he also treats the rescued animals for injuries before they are let out into their natural habitats. The wildlife clinic soon became popular among the people of Rajahmundry, and Phaneendra says that now his phone doesn’t stop ringing with villagers calling him with various requests – from rescuing a wild boar that’s destroying their crops to the Forest Department seeking help to save animals from poachers….Read more>>