Image Courtesy: The Better India
Manoj Gogoi, a 44-year-old environmentalist and a father of two children has dedicated his life to the rescue and rehabilitation of birds, reptiles, and mammals as reported by The Better India, a digital media platform. Since 2005, Gogoi has been rescuing wild and domesticated animals. The total number of animals that he has catered to has exceeded the 5,000th mark.
Speaking to The Better India, Gogoi says, “It has been a phenomenal journey so far, one that I hope continues for a long time to come. A large crowd gathers to watch the operation. I take that opportunity to educate people about the importance of snakes. I tell them how killing them is not the solution to their problems and how untrained handling of the reptile can be dangerous. Of course, the awareness was not imparted immediately. However, about ten years later, I can see the difference in their attitude. Now, they call me instead of lynching the snakes”.
Apart from just being selfless towards Mother Nature, the 44-year-old started an organization called the Naturalists for Rehabilitation of Snakes and Birds (NRSB) which he begun with 11 volunteers and today he has more than 100 members under his leadership. His ultimate motive to start the NRSB was to reach out to every animal in need round the clock.
Gogoi shifted to Mumbai to complete a one-month course at The Bombay Natural History Society in Mumbai in 2006. Alongside his incredible work with NRSB, Gogoi drove vehicles at the Assam’s State Tourism Department. But his course completion in Mumbai opened an opportunity for him to work as a tourist guide at a resort with a salary of Rs.1500. However, money was never an excuse for this man to continue his unpaid service.
“I was born in the Kaziranga area of Assam. I grew up in the lap of nature teeming with rhinoceros, leopards, beautiful Himalayas birds and snakes, even venomous ones. It is a familiar environment for me since childhood. Naturally, I developed a genuine fondness for the wild”, Gogoi tells The Better India.
Saluting his contributions for 12 years and above, the Corbett Foundation appreciated him with the “Wildlife Warrior” award in 2014. Apart from the award he also had a documentary shot after he was called the ‘The Man Who ‘Speaks’ Nature’ directed by Assamese director Dhritiman Kakati. Recently he also was awarded as the 2019 Passion Award by India Star Book of Records, reports The Better India.
Through his selfless work and actions, Gogoi has been inspiring many in and around his region. In a recent case reported by Dr Naveen Pandey, the Deputy Director of the Corbett foundation office in Kaziranga to The Better India he says, “A boy went running to foundation’s office with a turtle in his hand. He told us that his family wanted to keep the turtle as a pet. The boy requested the parents to set the turtle into the wild and so he “stole” the turtle and brought it to us. He wanted us to leave it in its natural habitat. Such is the impact of Manoj”.
(Inputs are taken from The Better India)