A doctor from India who is stuck in war-torn Ukraine, is shut up in his basement with his two beloved big cats, a panther and a leopard. Dr Girikumar Patil lives in a bunker under his home in Severodonetsk, Donbas.
Separatists rule the region, and the situation is rapidly deteriorating. Dr. Patil, on the other hand, is unwilling to abandon the creatures.
“I will never abandon my pets to save my life. Of course, my family is urging me to return. My pets are my children. I’ll stay with them and protect them until my last breath,” he said to the The New Indian Express.
Dr. Patil moved to Ukraine in 2007 to study medicine and eventually remained in Donbas. According to The New Indian Express, he then worked as an orthopaedic surgeon at a local government hospital.
He spotted the “orphaned and ill” jaguar at a nearby zoo and adopted it with approval from officials. Yasha is the name given by Dr. Patil to the animal. He brought the black panther Sabrina as a mate for Yasha two months ago.
According to the BBC, Mr Patil has only been out of his cellar to get food for his animals since the war began. The male jaguar is 20 months old, while the female panther is a six-month-old youngster, according to the BBC.
Speaking to BBC, he said, “My big cats have been spending nights in the basement with me. There has been a lot of bombing happening around us. The cats are scared. They are eating less. I can’t leave them,”.
Dr. Patil also owns three dogs, all Italian mastiffs, and uses his YouTube channel, which has over 84,000 followers, to collect donations for them.
Dr. Patil comes from Tanuku in the Andhra Pradesh district of West Godavari. He hopes that the Indian government would permit him to bring all of his pet animals home.