One of the biggest misconceptions around street animals in India is that most local people don't like them and either ignore them or go out of their way to cause them harm. While there is definitely a segment of the population in India that does treat them poorly or want nothing to do with them, you will find many people are very caring towards them. All street animals in India are usually confined to a small area that encompasses several blocks of a neighborhood and rarely do they travel outside of that area. What you will find is that on almost every block there are people who care for them by either feeding them scraps or biscuits, give them safe places to eat or rest and will try and help them when they’re in distress or injured.
The Animal People Alliance Kolkata (APAK) team recently met an incredible and inspiring woman that highlights the love that many people in this city have for street animals. Sumoti Naskar is an 80 year old widow living in the Behala area of the city who takes it upon herself to care for and feed approximately 300 dogs and cats. She is a lifelong animal lover and uses the little resources she has to make a huge difference to the animals in her area. APAK spent the afternoon with her and accompanied her around her neighborhood to provide treatments and vaccinations to animals she identified as needing help. She also sat down with us to share her story and the reason why she feels compelled to help the animals. We will bring you her interview in a few weeks and give you a chance to see for yourself there are caring and loving people doing what they can to help in anyway they can. We promise you will be inspired!
The problem with most human animal conflict is a lack of education and understanding on the part of the human population. Many people are not aware of the basic steps you can take to prevent conflicts such as not approaching an animal when it’s eating, not coming up behind an animal and surprising it, not allowing an animal the time to sense you out and smell you to get comfortable with you, recognizing when an animal is in heat or distress and not provoking it and so on. These very simple steps, once learned, go a long way in preventing issues from arising and help animals and people have a better relationship with each other. This is also why our focus on vaccination drives is so important. When locals know the animals in their areas have been vaccinated against diseases like rabies and distemper they are less afraid of interacting with them and tend to be more open to showing them compassion and empathy.
There are always going to be outliers who are cruel and unkind but they’re vastly outnumbered by the people who care and want to do something to help. It’s easy to see the cases of neglect and violence perpetrated by people and jump to the conclusion that those people represent the majority of the population. In our experience we have learned that’s not the case. Most people do care and despite their own lack of resources, they will do what they can , when they can to help. It’s important to remember that and highlight those people when we can, which is why we can’t wait to bring you the story of Mrs. Sarkar ! Stay tuned....