NAGPUR: Though wildlife is a small part of the veterinary curriculum, Dr NP Dakshinkar, who heads clinics at the Teaching Veterinary Clinical Complex & Nagpur Veterinary College, is an exception when it comes to treating large carnivores like leopards and tigers.
His dedication can be gauged from the fact that just a day after undergoing angioplasty in November 2008, he treated the tigress Jui, who had been rescued from Chandrapur and brought to Maharajbagh. Braving ill health, he reached the zoo to treat Jui and suggested a blood transfusion. This was perhaps the first case of blood transfusion among tigers, done under the guidance of Dr Dakshinkar.
"I got a second lease of life after the angioplasty. Though I am still living with a couple of blockages and have been advised bypass surgery, I keep going. What I'm today is because of my selfless service to animals. I do it as a social obligation and feel it is payback time to society," says a humble Dr Dakshinkar.
Since the beginning of his professional career, Dr Dakshinkar and his team have given a fresh lease of life to over a dozen critically injured tigers, leopards and other wild animals. The Katlabodi and Tass tigresses even successfully bred after being released back in the wild. "It was all team work," he says. Dr Dakshinkar's successful treatment of carnivores has led the forest department to set up a dedicated team of vets to treat wild animals.
Having started his career in the 80s as a cattle development officer with a private firm, Dr Dakshinkar has an outstanding academic record that is reflected in his work. He has the distinction of getting two national level fellowships and he is a Fellow of National Academy of Veterinary Sciences (FNAVS) and Fellow of Indian Society for Veterinary Medicine (FIVSM). He has won five gold medals and received 'best teacher award' twice. He has been teaching since 1983.
It is not all about treating wild animals in case of emergencies or otherwise, as Dr Dakshinkar attends calls from animal rights activists who rescue injured and stray animals. Looking at the plight of animals not getting treatment, Dr Dakshinkar with the patronage of MAFSU vice-chancellor Prof AK Misra initiated 24X7 treatment facility for animals at veterinary clinic near Alankar theatre. Today, this clinic is one of the best in the country.
"Five months ago, we opened a critical care unit at the clinic, which is the first in the state. This has increased number of patients," says Dr Dakshinkar. The problem of treating sick animals from areas surrounding Nagpur will also be solved soon, as the state government has approved six animal ambulances for the university, with one deployed at Nagpur.
Dr Dakshinkar has also mooted modernization of veterinary clinical complex with indoor treatment and modern equipment to operate on large animals. He has also initiated a tie-up with National Innovation Foundation, Ahmedabad, for validation of herbal medicaments and grass roots technologies.
"At the veterinary clinic, getting treatment to animals during night or late evening was impossible. Dr Dakshinkar posted PG students at the hospital at night, and in emergencies, he himself pitches in," says animal rights activist Karishma Galani.
Other contributions of Dr Dakshinkar include proposed wildlife research and training centre to be set up at Gorewada under the guidance of Misra. "This will be one of the best centres in India, where clinical and DNA studies will also be conducted," he says. MAFSU & Forest Development Corporation of India (FDCM) have already signed a MOU for this.