Published: 10th June 2019
This 31-year-old Mangalore animal activist is helping dogs stay safe on highways
Mangaluru-based animal activist Tauseef Ahmed has so far tagged over 400 dogs with reflective collars and has also been treating injured animals
Most of our days start with a call from our parents or a loved one or with a good morning greeting. But for this 31-year-old from Mangaluru, it usually starts with a call from people such as the railway authorities asking him to rescue a mother snake along with 30 eggs that the reptile laid on a railway track. That's everyday life for Tauseef Ahmed, an MBA graduate and a real estate businessman, who has come to be known as Mangaluru’s only full-time animal rescuer and activist. "I haven't been able to take a single holiday for the last seven years as every single day there are calls for rescues," he says with a laugh.
Born and raised at Kudremukh in Chikmagalur district of Karnataka, Tauseef's fascination with animals dates back to his childhood. "We grew up having a lot of animals around like snakes, dogs, cats and even elephants that came to our backyard. Our parents would always encourage us to be kind to animals," says Tauseef. He has been equipped with the ability to care for animals since he was a child as he is used to it. "There were no proper veterinary facilities so we used to treat them with homemade remedies like turmeric. Then around the year 2006, I moved to Mangaluru for further studies and that's when I got in touch with Animal Care Trust, which is an NGO in this city. I got in touch with them and learned a lot of things there about how one can perform on-site treatment, which is something that is very important nowadays where you treat injured animals at the place where you find them or someone reports to you. It might be a minor injury, so you don't have to necessarily take them to a shelter or a medical camp," explains the avid animal lover.
All-time, animal time: He became a full-time animal rescuer since 2011 and these 8 years have been a long and fruitful journey for the 31-year-old animal lover
The nights are deadly for animals
Tauseef completed his BBM degree from SDM College of Business Management in Mangaluru and then also did his MBA in Marketing and PG Diploma in HR from the same college. He also underwent a medical course and training at the Animal Care Trust. "Since 2011, I have been involved full-time in animal rescue and welfare," he adds. Tauseef's recent initiative of setting up a helpline is to prevent accidents and reduce the number of animal deaths.
I have seen that most of the deaths take place in the night time or when it is dark. I thought I should give my idea of using reflective collars for dogs a shot. Anything you do with regard to animals in our society, given the current situation, we have to put it in a way that it works both for humans and animals, otherwise, the general public doesn't really care much. I told people not only are they saving dogs' lives but also people on two-wheelers who meet with accidents when animals are involved. So this initiative received a lot of encouragement
Tauseef Ahmed, Animal rescuer
Tagged to keep them safe
Tauseef has been tagging dogs with reflective collars and so far he has tagged over 400 dogs in the city alone. "The belts are made of radium and they work just like the reflective signs on the road. Even when it's pitch dark and a black dog might be sleeping on the road when the vehicle approaches it, the light falls on the collar and it acts as a warning that there is something there. It's made from the same materials used to create dividers on highways," he explains.
A child's play: Tauseef's fascination with animals dates back to his childhood
The 31-year-old activist hopes that these reflective collars will catch the attention of the drivers from about a 50-metre radius and thus alert them. "It's working very well now, it's been two to three months, the first phase has gone very well. None of the dogs with collars have been involved in any form of accident. I am planning to do a phase two hopefully after the monsoon season," he says, content. At present, Tauseef has been following up with local authorities, veterinarians for the reflective collar project, as he explains that the follow up is the most important part. Juggling his business, personal life and animal rescue has been difficult for the last four years, but Tauseef has been managing.
Have you heard the call of the sparrow?
Last November, Tauseef won an award at India for Animals (IFA) national conference organised by FIAPO at Hyderabad. He won the 'Best Street Care and Rescue' award among numerous nominations from all over India. He won a total of 12 awards in 2018, which were mostly local felicitations like one from his college alumni association. "I was fortunate to get all the awards, especially the IFA one," says Tauseef.
The activist's future plans include a project for sparrows as he feels they do not have enough space for nesting in the city and end up on light poles — which is dangerous for them. "It will take time. But we have plans to build artificial nest boxes made out of PVC pipes and wood, which will then be given to local people so they can place it in their balcony and terraces. I have also been working for marine rescues here in Mangaluru, and I would like to do something larger about that," he concludes.