Local residents of the district have taken it upon themselves to procure fodder for the cattle and supply them to farmers in the affected villages.
Due to paucity of rainfall throughout last year, many parts of the Nilgiris are in the midst of a severe drought distress. While concerns for the farmers, tea workers, farmlands and livestock grow, a few animal lovers in the area have stepped forward to do their bit.
Residents of the district have taken it upon themselves to procure food for the starving cattle in the tribal villages of the Nilgiris.
Image for representation. Source: Kim Bartlett – Animal People Inc.
The fodder is being distributed in areas like Bokkapuram, Kurumbapadi and Vazhaithottam. Nagina Reddy, an animal welfare volunteer living in the Bokkapuram district said in an interview to The Times of India, “I visited a few tribal villages close to where I live. I saw cattle looking very weak.” She launched a social media campaign for donations and used the amount collected to gather the supplies from Nanjangud district.
The lack of rainfall in the districts have caused the grazing areas to dry up leaving little to no food for the livestock to consume.
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The citizen-driven initiative has made a significant difference to the fodder crisis. Nagina informed TOI that four villages had been supplied fodder in 20 days and more villages would benefit from the system. She has also urged help from other parts of the region. For instance, Ooty’s sprawling markets are an optimum source of fodder as the daily waste from the vegetable markets can be kept aside and transported to the drought-hit villages.
Masi, a Kurumba tribal from Kurumbapadi village, told TOI, “We are fortunate to get help from the locals in keeping our livestock healthy. These Good Samaritans have helped save our cattle.”
Meanwhile, the local animal husbandry department has also opened a fodder sales depot at Masinagudi and is seeking new means to receive supplies for the livestock.