Indian won’t leave Ukraine without wild pets

New Delhi, March 7 : As thousands flee war-torn Ukraine, an Indian doctor continues to live amid shelling Severodonetsk, a small town in the Donbas region in the country’s east, as he does not want to abandon his pets — a jaguar and a panther. According to a report by BBC, Girikumar Patil bought both cats from the Kyiv zoo one after the other, the first about 20 months ago. He said he will not leave Ukraine without his pets. Patil has been living in Severodonetsk for over six years. Hailing from Tanuku in Andhra Pradesh’s West Godavari district, he said he was inspired by film actor Chiranjeevi who had the big cats as pets in one of his movies. Feeding the two unusual pets, a 20-month-old male jaguar and a six-month-old female panther cub, is no easy task in war-ravaged Ukraine. Patil said he has to source all kinds of meat from neighbouring villages whenever there is a relaxation in curfew. The meat is costing higher than usual, he said. Patil was earlier based in Luhansk, where fighting between Russian-backed rebels and Ukrainian troops has been going on since 2014. His home and an Indian restaurant he opened there were destroyed in the fighting. He then moved to Severodonetsk, about 100 km (62 miles) away, bought a new place, began practising medicine and bought his pets. He arrived in Ukraine in 2007 to study medicine. He has been a practising orthopedic since 2014 and now works in a government hospital in Severodonetsk, the report said. AO MR

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