‘Chhapannala’ is a small village just below the Karbi hill at Naogaon district in Assam. An incident took place 31 years ago in a rainy night. A seven-year-old boy was lying in bed with her mother. In that night, call of various animals was wandering through the forest surrounded by mountains. The little boy Dulu could distinguish each and every call of animal be it a bird or animal.
Dulu woke up suddenly at midnight with a strange sound. He heard the sound with his raised ears, and tried to awake the housemates saying that a baby elephant fell in a nearby well, and it should be saved. But, unfortunately the housemates did not give importance to his words. As a result of that, Dulu could not sleep that night.
On the next morning, it was reported that a baby elephant fell down inside a well near Dulu’s house, and it was now dead. Dulu became a stone in agony. He made a resolution at that little age that he would not wait any more for anyone’s permission. One life of an animal went unnoticed by the negligence of elder people; from then onwards he alone would save the life of the animals.
When Dulu was only 14 years old, Dulu used to come down to the rescue of endangered wildlife alone and without anyone’s permission. Usually birds, turtles, and small mammals were caught from the jungle and wetlands and sold in meat-shop in a weekly market near their village. Dulu started to go to the market hiding from the people in their house, and he used to buy birds with whatever money he had at that moment. After buying a bird, he used to free them in the jungle. It has become an addiction to him and he started doing small jobs at a very young age to earn money.
An Assam based NGO named ‘Green Guard Nature Organization’ (GGNO) came to assist him in his lonely battle to protect wildlife when Dulu Borah was 19 years old. From that day, they have been working together.
After being rescued alive from animal smugglers, Dulu use to keep them in his home for a certain period, and then return the animals to the place from where they had been rescued. Dulu treats sick and injured animals in his own home. However, if the animals or birds give birth, Dulu use to send their babies to the ‘Centers for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation’ in Assam.
Dulu has launched a ’24×7′ helpline to rescue endangered wildlife. Dulu says that this phone number is open all the day and night, and he grab each phone call be it morning or midnight, because informers may call at any moment for rescue of animals. He always rely on his motor-bike that makes him reach that area quickly.
Dulu created a team of forest guards with strong willpower like him. When they see suspicious behavior of local or exotic people with livestock, they inform Dulu on the phone, and he then go out for action.
Dulu Borah shared some of his experiences of life adventure:
There is village name Udmari in Assam, in which the villagers are born hunters. They use to eat meat of wild animals. Dulu went there after hearing the story and faced an ackward situation. Some villagers were trying to kill a giant snake throwing stones at it.
Dulu became the guard for the snake and started bearing their stone throwing, suddenly he got a blow of stone on his head by the one thrown by villagers. It started bleeding from his head. The snake was just behind Dulu and it could bite him if he moved. After 10 minutes were passed, the villagers got astonished that a man had been standing there and bearing their torture of stone throwing continuously, they stopped attacking him and went back to their village. The snake also went back to the jungle again and did not bite Dulu.
Once upon a time, some people in a remote village on the hill were forcibly holding a baby elephant. The superstitious and intoxicated people were demanding that the baby elephant was gifted to them by the God. Dulu Borah reached there after receiving the news from an informer. The villagers became very angry on seeing Dulu at the spot and came rushing to him with whatever arms they had in their hand – axe, stick, bow and arrow etc. Someone fired from a hunting gun. Dulu was compelled to run away to save his life for the time being.
But his battle did not end there; he silently went to the village that night alone. The villagers were in deep sleep after having consumed wine in that cold night at the hill. As he was an expert of calling in elephant’s tone, he began calling as like mother elephant from a distance. After hearing the call of an elephant, the baby elephant came to Dulu by running assuming that its mother was calling. Dulu then started running outside the village with duplicating the elephant’s call, and the baby elephant was also running behind him. After crossing the dangerous forest area running with the baby elephant, Dulu at last delivered the baby to the safe custody of ‘Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation’. That was the way he saved an animal’s life without conflicting with the villagers.
The area of Karbi hills in Assam had been suffering from a problem. Herds of elephant occasionally entered the villages due to lack of food. They used to destroy crops and as a result of that collisions between elephants and villagers had been a daily routine. Sometimes the elephants lost their lives in conflict and sometimes villagers lost their lives. Since then, Dulu came forward to solve the problem. Dulu has planted 45,000 banana trees in 200 bighas of land at the bottom of Karbi hills during 8 years to supply food for the elephants. As a result of that human-elephant conflict has been greatly reduced.
Dulu Borah is now on 38, he has already rescued 3,000 animals and reptiles. Elephant cubs, baby leopard, baby bears, pygmy monkeys, Chinese pangolin, deer, wild rabbits, chameleon of rare species, various species of reptiles, flying squirrels, wildcats and many other animals are among them. Besides, Dulu has recovered thousands of snakes, turtles and about 2,000 birds of rare species.
While sharing his experiences on returning animals to the jungle he told that he used to feel happy at the core of his heart. He also mentioned about his feeling –once after returning a leopard to a jungle, the leopard looked back to him for a long time as if it was trying to pay gratitude with its wild eyes. The leopard’s vision touched Dulu Borah.