Five years ago. a crow fell into the compound of B K Ajay Kumar Jain’s house. It lay there injured, helpless and terrified. Ajay who saw it was in a flap. For he didn’t know what to do. He wandered from pillar to post of a pet hospital and a veterinary hospital to get the injured crow treated. He realised that there were no good facilities to treat injured birds, and this gave him the idea to start a bird hospital.
His Pragathi Bird Charitable Hospital and Research Centre at Vidyaranyapuram has rescued and treated more than 1,250 birds. So far, he has rescued hundreds of birds by climbing buildings and trees, and crawling through drainage.
The 36-year-old runs this unique hospital that has an ICU and ambulance only for birds. The centre is a wing of NGO Pragathi Prathistan founded by Ajay. He did not know how to treat his winged rescues and he took lessons in first aid from veterinary specialist Dr Madan at Leela Veterinary Hospital. He says, “By keenly observing him for several months, I understood the behaviour of birds and learnt how to treat them.”
They have rescued several species including humming bird, wood peckers, pigeons, eagle, house swift, common mynah, owl, crow, bat, love birds, barbet, green tailed barker bird, brahminy kite, sparrows and parrots. A month ago, Ajay had treated more than 64 pelicans from Brindavan Gardens, after a huge tree was uprooted in heavy rains. The centre has also rescued and treated tortoises, mongooses, cats and dogs.
Once a bird is brought to the centre, they investigate the nature of the injury or illness. If the wounds are minor, they are treated at the centre. If they require a surgery, they are taken to Leela Veterinary Hospital; till date, 13 major surgeries have been done. After the birds recover, they are set free.
All expenses are borne by him and, for surgeries, he gets help from family members. He is the son of B A Kailash Chand Jain, veteran politician, Gandhian and president of Jain Sangha in Mysuru, and K Pista Kumari Bohra, social worker and national vice president of All India Jain Conference. He has three elder brothers and a younger sister who was ordained a Jain Sadhvi four years ago.He says, “People ask me why I waste my time and money on birds. I try to make them understand why we must save birds and the satisfaction we get from it, but they rarely get it”.
The centre, meanwhile, has made a mark. He says, “Initially, I got only one or two calls a month. Today, we receive two to three calls every day on an average. Most people call in to report about eagles in summer and pigeons in monsoon. Our 40 volunteers respond immediately.”
Ajay adds, “Most birds are injured from electrocution and accidents rise around Deepavali, when rockets hit them, and summer, when eagles fall to the ground from dehydration.”
People vouch for Ajay’s dedication. A resident of KRS Road, Savithri Mahendra, says, “We gave a call to him at 4.30 am one day, when we spotted injured birds caught in an uprooted tree. He rushed to the spot, climbed the tree and rescued them.”
Dr Srisha Bhat, adventure sports coordinator, says, “Many people still believe that touching an owl or a crow brings bad luck. If they do come into contact with these birds, they have a bath or do special pujas. But Ajay helps all birds without discrimination or hesitation.” Impressed by his effort, Srisha volunteers with the centre.Ventriloquist and magician Suma Rajkumar too became a volunteer with Pragathi Prathistan. “When we set the recovered birds free, it gives us great joy,” she says.
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