Sunday, 5 December, 2021
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Rafid a friend of animals, birds

World Animal Day today

Rafid a friend of animals, birds
Rafid Hoque Swad is taking care of kites at the sanctuary he built on the roof of their seven-storey building in Old Dhaka. The photo was taken on Sunday. —MD NASIR UDDIN

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It all started with a crippled dog he found at Kataban Market in the capital seven years ago. Out of love for the ill-fated animal which had no fur on its body, he took it home along with him and named it ‘Smoky’. Due to his proper nursing, Smoky gradually stood up and ran.

Since then, Rafid Hoque Swad, a BBA student at University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB), nursed many birds and animals back to health and then released them into the nature after their full recovery.

Rafid rescues injured or sick birds and animals from different parts of the capital and nurses them. The roof of their seven-storey building located in Old Dhaka’s Nazira Bazar is surrounded by nets. He has built a sanctuary for birds and animals on it.

“My father Enamul Hoque used to keep cows on the roof. Later, my mother Rubina Hoque wanted to make the roof a garden but I used to love animals and birds since my childhood. I began rearing birds and animals like pigeon and rabbit here. My mother was disturbed by my activities and she stopped visiting the roof. However, now she is happy as people appreciate my work,” said the youth.

This correspondent visited Rafid’s sanctuary and talked to him ahead of the World Animal Day to be observed today.

After Rafid shared the story of the dog recovery on facebook, people acquainted with him started informing him whenever they see a wounded or sick animal or bird as he would heal them with utmost compassion.

He began watching tutorials on YouTube and started saving animals and birds and nursing them on his roof.

Rafid is now treating a number of sick kites. These birds either do not have wing or leap or they are suffering from other serious injuries.

“Kites often become the victims of electric shock while flying. Besides, many people rear pigeons. Kites sometimes attack pigeons when they get hungry. Consequently, owners of pigeons hit them by throwing stones. I have now 12 such sick kites and I’ll release two of them very soon,” he said.

The young zoophilist is now also treating six pigeons, two dogs, two Budgerigars, a cat and a rabbit, which he has rescued from different areas.

Apart from the rescued ones, his roof is home to over 100 animals and birds, including 60 chickens, 50 pigeons, three dogs, two rats, two guinea pigs and a cat.

Among all animals and birds, kites have made Rafid a familiar name to the pet lovers.

Around 200-300 kites visit his rooftop every afternoon. He provides them with different food items. Watching the beautiful scene on a regular basis the locals and pet lovers have named their residence as ‘Chilbari’.

“Earlier, I fed them with food bought with the money of my parents. Now I manage everything doing tuitions online and posting videos on YouTube,” Rafid said.

He cleans all the feces and excrement of animals and birds on the roof. He bathes them and provides them with food in time.

While speaking about the time he spends for these animals and birds, Rafid said, “I love to spend time with them. I used to hang out before. But my routine has been changed. No matter where I go, I return home by 4:00pm to feed them in time.”

He has a plan to open a Doggo Sage Cafe and Restaurant, which will offer shelter and grooming facilities for injured and hungry animals and birds.

He strongly recommends government-sponsored programmes to rescue and cater hapless animals and birds.

Rafid also founded ‘Doggo Sage’, an animal rescuing platform that feeds stray dogs around 50 different areas in the capital. His team of volunteers has fed around 530 dogs so far and they have a target to feed 1,000 dogs.

Rafid’s facebook page and a YouTube channel named ‘Doggo Sage’ have over 21,000 followers and 11,000 subscribers respectively where he posts photos and videos to encourage people to take care of animals and birds.

And these initiatives are bringing a meaningful change in the society. Especially, the young generation is stepping up to feed and take care of animals and birds.

“Many young people who follow me on social media and watch my videos now treat animals and birds in a different way. Some of them feed them and send me those photos and videos which really make me happy,” said Rafid.

He thinks that there is lack of consciousness among the mass people regarding the importance of animals and birds in nature.

Rafid said, “They should understand that we all are creations of Allah. Animals and birds are part of our life. We can’t claim ourselves civilised keeping them in a bad shape.”