Every life matters at Animal Rescuers Bangladesh
Photos have been circling the net of dead cows being washed away in the floods of Sunamganj — dismal imageries, and stark truth for the already poverty-stricken farmer who perhaps owned nothing else but these very cows.
"I look after my cows like my own children. I can't even imagine what went through the farmer who lost all his cows in the flash floods. We don't have much you know. Just these animals to take care of us and survive through poverty," said one Monu Mia from Beanibazar, Sylhet.
Many animals like monkeys could perhaps survive by leaping on tall trees, whilst the rest may have drowned because there were no signs of dry land within miles. In times of disaster when people even tend to leave behind their ailing family ties to consequences of fate, animals, especially stray wildlife, are the last thing on their mind for any sort of rescue attempt.
This is where Animal Rescuers Bangladesh (ARB) sets in; a rescue organisation for animals, which strongly believes in the saying, 'all lives matter including animal lives.'
Severe flooding in the northeast of Bangladesh has left millions stranded in greater Sylhet including Sunamganj. Both human and animal lives are at stake, with almost no access to food, shelter or safety for days at a stretch. Various rescue organisations including Animal Rescuers Bangladesh are trying to access these flood-affected regions to provide necessary assistance to the survivors.
"Informally, it has been almost six years for our organisation, said the founder, Tia Chowdhury. "Our main motive is to give importance to animal lives and save as many as possible from any sort of adversity."
The institution has been treating wounded stray dogs and cats since the initiation days.
"People inform us of stray, wounded animals, and then members of the group bring them over to my place, where I give them first-hand, basic treatment. If there's anything more complex, we then take them over to the vet.
"Our group is massive now, with almost over 50k followers and everybody is a die-hard, believing in the greater cause from the bottom of their hearts. Whenever we get informed of a wounded animal, we contact each other and then bring them to shelter, recover and then send them back to safety again," said Chowdhury.
Recently, ARB has taken the initiative to visit Sylhet and rescue stray animals from the flood-affected areas. A six-member team is already on-site rescuing survivors, paddling through the waters on boats. The stranded animals are taken back to dry land or shelter houses, and fed dry-foods like cakes and buns.
"The on-site team is regularly sending heart-wrenching photos and videos of stranded animals, from horses to cats, dogs, and even monkeys. One cat was stuck over the top of a wall for at least 2- 3 days without food. The scared little thing has been brought back to safety," informed Chowdhury.
The Sylhet initiative, has been a necessary but impromptu attempt of the group, requiring donations from the masses to continue with the benevolent work.
"I wish we were warned of the floods earlier, then we could have saved so many more lives," remarked Chowdhury.
Photo: Animal Rescuers Bangladesh
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Bkash and Hotline Number at Animal Rescuers Bangladesh: 01735730877