GUNTUR: The Ukraine-based orthopaedic from Andhra Pradesh, who became popular for raising a jaguar and a black panther as pets, has finally decided to leave the war-torn country. Now, he is making necessary arrangements to safeguard his pets there as he was denied permission to airlift them to India. Dr Giri Kumar Patil, also known as Jaguar Kumar, a youtuber, has been raising the two wild pets for the past two years. Even when the Russian invasion started, he chose to stay in Donbas as he didn’t want to leave his “kids” there.
Dr Patil hails from Tanuku in West Godavari district and went to the eastern European nation in 2007 to study medicine. He settled in Ukraine after completing his MBBS degree and has been documenting his struggles while taking care of the two big cats and procuring food for them amid the war, on his YouTube channel ‘Jaguar Kumar Telugu’, which has over 1 lakh subscribers. Now, he decided to construct an animal enclosure in his backyard to provide a safe place for his pets before returning to India. He took the decision after he was threatened by local soldiers as they mistook him to be a criminal.
In a telephonic conversation with TNIE, he said, “I will return to India very soon after making sure my pets are well provided and will be safe even in my absence”. He took the decision after being taken hostage by local soldiers. Remembering that awful day, he said, “On April 5, after feeding my pets, I went out to make a call to India as WiFi was not available in my house. By the time I returned home, soldiers broke into my house. They asked me some questions and blindfolded me and tied me up in their truck and took me to some unknown place. I was so terrified and thought it would be my last day of life. I tried to convince them and explained my situation. Later, they realised that they mistook me for some criminal on whom a death warrant was issued. Later, they released me. This incident pushed me to the edge and I decided to leave the war-torn country,” he added.
He contacted the management of various zoos in Ukraine and even in Russia, but none of them gave him a proper solution to shift his pets. With no option left, he decided to construct a 200-metre animal enclosure in his backyard with all required facilities for his pets. He sold all his properties and car to construct the enclosure and hired a six-member crew and works have been going on for the past one month. However, finding trustworthy people to look after his pets without harming them has been a challenge for him.
“It is understandable as people fear my pets as they are wild animals. So it took time to convince my neighbours and acquaintances to feed my animals. A tunnel will be set up in the enclosure so that they don’t have to fear going near the animals and no one can harm them either’’. The construction works will be completed soon and Dr Patil is planning to return to India after that. Speaking about his future plans, he said, “After returning to India, I will meet the officials concerned and do everything possible to bring back my kids at any cost.”