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    Indian doctor trapped in Ukraine with pet jaguar and panther amid Russian siege: Report

    Indian doctor trapped in Ukraine with pet jaguar and panther amid Russian siege: Report

    Indian doctor trapped in Ukraine with pet jaguar and panther amid Russian siege: Report
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    By CNBCTV18.com  IST (Updated)


    A Chiranjeevi fan, Dr Girikumar Patil is not keen on moving out of his house in the Russian-controlled Donbas region of eastern Ukraine as leaving would mean abandoning most, if not all his pets.

    Ukraine had been home to a vibrant Indian community before the Russian war of aggression against the country. While most of the 20,000 Indians, about 18,000 of whom were students, have left the country, some are still stranded.

    One of them is an Indian doctor who is holed up with his two exotic pets -- a jaguar and a panther, reported the BBC.

    Dr Girikumar Patil has been living in Severodonetsk, a small town located in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, for the past six years. Patil bought two pets from a zoo about 20 months ago. The male jaguar is a rare hybrid offspring of a male leopard and a female jaguar and is 20 months old,  while the female panther is a six-month-old cub.

    Dr Patil has bought 23kg of sheep, chicken and turkey meat from his neighbours in the village of Severodonetsk, in the Donbas region.

    "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," the 40-year-old told BBC.

    This is the second time Dr Patil has been on the receiving end of Russian aggression. He was there during the fighting in 2014 when unmarked Russian armed forces moved into the Luhansk region of Ukraine. Dr Patil's restaurant and home were destroyed.

    The doctor, who arrived in Ukraine in 2007 for his MBBS, is a practicing orthopaedic.

    He spent $35,000 (around Rs 26.95 lakh) to buy his panther and jaguar from the local zoo. The zoo allows the purchase of animals to private citizens provided they show proof of ample space for the animal, which he does in his two-storey six-room house with a small enclosure for his two large cats and three dogs.

    "I have always been fascinated with big cats since watching my favourite southern Indian film star, Chiranjeevi, in a film with leopards," he said to BBC.

    While most of the Indians in the country have already left, Dr Patil isn't keen on moving. Leaving would mean that he would have to leave most if not all his pets behind.

    "I am the only Indian out here, and at night I am alone in the neighbourhood. Most of my neighbours have moved to nearby villages. I am going to hold out," he said.

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