KADAPA: Sheik Basha Mohiuddin, the name has become synonymous as a ‘friend of animals’ since the past one decade, and happiness expressed by the animals and birds when they receive food from his hands speaks for itself.
This middle aged man, who operates B-3 Gym Centre in Cooperative Colony of Kadapa town, has been feeding cows, monkeys, deer, squirrels, dogs, cats, pigeons, parrots, crows, sparrows among others every Sunday for the past 10 years. He has not skipped a single Sunday all these years, come rain, flood or Covid-19.
Basha, who described feeding the animals, as a god-given opportunity to do something good in life, recalled it was in 2011, when he was passing through a forest area in Siddavatam that he came across a group of monkeys struggling to get a drop of water from a discarded water bottle.
When he threw the water bottle at the monkeys, they started quarrelling with one another to get the water. The sight moved him. He decided to do something about it and the following Sunday, he took out cans and filled them with water in River Penna and brought them to the place in Siddavatam forest where he saw the group of monkeys. He poured the water in a ditch and saw the monkey lap it up. It made him happy and he decided to continue the the good samaritan act.
Next Sunday, he with help of his friends, took water troughs in an auto-rickshaw and filled them with water and set them in the forest area. Soon monkeys, having become accustomed to Basha’s weekly visits and the vehicle carrying water and food, eagerly approached it to get their share of food and water.
Basha started feeding stray cows with fodder in Kadapa town and providing milk and meat to cats and dogs. Later, he started taking fruits, vegetables, and water to forest areas near JMJ College area on the city outskirts, Bhakarapet, Siddavatam, Atlur, Rapuru, Ramapuram, Guvvala Cheruvu Ghat.
“Come marriage, festival or rain or scorching heat, I have never skipped feeding the animals. I feel happy I feed them with my hand. They have become my best friends now,” he said. He has not it even during Covid-19 and his dedication towards feeding the animals and birds is such that police personnel too support and cooperate with him.
After taking part of money to support his family from what he earns from the gym, he spends the rest on feeding them.
“I never felt it as a burden or thought of stopping it. I deem it as a privilege and do it willingly. It pains me when people drive away animals. Instead, we should befriend them and feed them nderstanding their plight,” he said.
Basha said deforestation is the reason for the animals approaching human habitations. Had there been sufficient food and water in the forests, why would they venture out, he asked and added he is doing his bit for the environment and wildlife and others too should theirs.