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COVID-19: Hyd’bad students turn lifesavers for campus strays, wildlife

Hyderabad, April 14 (IANS) Amid the coronavirus pandemic, where empty campuses have resulted in stray dogs going hungry, a group of animal-lover students at the University of Hyderabad have taken it upon themselves to care for the hundreds of stray dogs and wild animals that have made the sprawling varsity campus their home.

The sprawling campus of UoH is also the habitat for nearly 200 species of birds, various mammals and reptiles. The food wastage of the hostel messes and garbage used to be the source of food for many stray dogs, wild boars and other wildlife.

Following the 21-day lockdown, most of the students left for their home, and the hostel messes too were closed. Some of the dogs began to foray into the wooded areas on campus in search of food, and hunt hares, wild boars and spotted deers.

Noticing the hunger pangs of the stray dogs and its impact on the wildlife in campus, a team of 30 students led by Rohit Kumar Bondugula, Research Scholar of School of Computer and Information Sciences at the UoH, joined hands with Pradeep Nair of Animal Warrior Conservation Society, to feed the stray dogs and wild animals inhabiting the university campus.

Speaking to IANS, Rohit Kumar said, “Normally 5,000 people stay on campus and now there are hardly 200 people here. The stray dogs were not getting food they normally got and started hunting the peacocks and other small animals on campus. We felt that by feeding the stray dogs we can prevent them from hunting the wildlife and thus protect them too.”

To avert the conflict between the stray dogs and wildlife, Rohit and Pradeep along with their team decided to feed the strays within their territories at different places in the campus. The teams arranged to provide cooked food for the stray dogs, and water bowls for the birds, along with vegetables and grass for the wildlife on campus.

The horticulture department, UoH Security and forest guards regularly fill strategically placed concrete tubs on campus, with water for spotted deers, wild boars and other wildlife on campus.

–IANS

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