The bird rescue man

Sanjeev Sankhla, an animal enthusiast is well known in Rajasthan for his extraordinary skills in rescuing birds and animals in distress. Besides being a passionate animal lover, he is an acclaimed motorbike racist having won many races for the Honda Company. A man of myriad interests, he runs a handicraft business in Jaipur. His childhood love for animals and birds led him to make unique devices and develop skills and techniques to rescue birds, animals and even humans from manmade and natural disasters. Sanjeev Sankhla, president of NGO, Help Suffering Lives Society, takes time off to talk to Iram Tasleem even as he scours the city on Makar Sankranti to save the faunas.

1. What inspired you to serve the animals and birds?

From early childhood, I have been passionate about animals. I have been rescuing animals and birds from emergency situations since long. Eight years ago I started an NGO Help Suffering Lives Society, which is devoted to the same cause. I do it free of cost and round the clock. For rescuing an animal, I don’t bother about anything, whenever I get a call I rush to the site.

2.How do you conduct rescue operations?

I rescue and provide on site treatment to animals and birds who get injured or entangled at inaccessible locations. I get calls from people seeking help for bird stuck at great heights, bird get injured due to manjha strings in winters and in fan of coolers or exhausts in summers or in other accident, cats or dogs slip into well. I rescue cows, camels and all other stray animals from manmade or natural disasters and provide them shelter. It is like you give me problem and I will give you a solution. I find solutions through my techniques and gadgets. On hearing the description about the site, I start designing rescue gadgets and then rush with it to the site. Many a times it also happens that I design rescue gadgets at the site of emergency from available stuff there. Even if a bird get entangled at a height of 50 ft and my gadget can only reach upto 30 ft, I manage to rescue the bird through innovative techniques.

3. Tell us about your self-made gadgets ?

I myself design the devices according to the specific emergency situation. For making gadgets I take care of two things. Firstly I use lightest possible weight material and secondly ensure that it is portable. I use rods, cutter, basket and at night I fix torch in my tool also. Many a times I get emergency calls at night. My devices are made up with very ordinary material at minimum cost to meet any kind of emergency situations. To give one example I got a call from Gopal Ji Ka Rasta four days ago, where a cat had fallen into a 50 ft deep well. Local people, NGOs and officials of Municipal Corporation all failed to rescue the cat. Some people were saying that the cat was dead. As I smoke, I took out a cigarette from my packet, bought a small cracker and fixed the cracker at the end of cigarette. I lighted the cigarette, tied it on the rope and hung it into the well. I prepared a kind of time bomb as it takes about 4 minutes for a cigarette to burn completely and after four minutes, the cracker exploded inside the well and the cat woke up. Then with the help of torn plastic sheet tripaal and a rope I rescued the cat after a labour of two hours.

4. Since large number of birds get injured from manjha, do you find time to fly kites on Makar Sankranti?

Yes, I do fly kite but I fly only two-three kites and that too with “sadda” cotton cord. I don’t fly kites at height in the sky.

5. Are you satisfied with the efforts of city administration in ensuring safety of birds on Makar Sankranti ?

No, not at all. Though administration has prescribed guidelines like not to fly kite before 8 am in morning and after 5 pm in evening, nobody is following it. I think they are completely insufficient. I think either government should prohibit “Manjha” completely and “sadda” cotton cord should be made mandatory to fly kites.

6.What kind of complaints are you getting these days?

Birds are getting wounded seriously and many birds get killed due to manjha. Yesterday I went to Civil Lines on a call and found a beautiful peacock had died due to ‘manjha’.Birds are very terribly wounded. I have even found many birds in two pieces.

6.How do you feel after you have rescued these animals?

Animals are more sensitive than humans. Animals whom I have rescued recognise me very well. Like for example I had rescued a dog trapped badly in a gate at my relative’s house. I went to his home after six months and the dog came to me wagging his tail and sat near me. I share an affectionate relationship with all animals. I think God has blessed humans so immensely but they are using their capabilities in wrong directions. If they would use it to serve the lives, rescue animals and humans from manmade and natural disaster,this earth would become a wonderful place to live in.

7.You have even given your services to the police department by helping in road safety programmes, you have also served the forest department with your unique gadgets.What kind of response do you get?

I have so many good ideas which would reduce road accidents up to 70-80% for traffic police. Even the forest department has put to use my innovative ideas but the problem is that I don’t get the right platform to disseminate my potential ideas and techniques.

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