At a time when reports on man-animal conflicts often make headlines, stories on man-animal friendship make hearts melt. Everyone knows about Khairi, a Royal Bengal Tigress, who lived like a family member in the household of Saroj Raj Choudhury, the first field director of Similipal Tiger Reserve. Saroj and his wife were parents to Khairi. The majestic creature not only used to eat from their hands and climb on their shoulders, but she would also sleep with them. This time, a wild boar is in the news for becoming a family member of Mahendra Patra, a resident of Malkangiri.
As per the reports, Mahendra saved a baby wild boar while the animal was being swept away in flood water 25 years back and took the animal with him. Since then, the wild boar has become very much part of Mahendra’s family. Though the boar goes to forest, it comes back after a while.
Moreover, the wild boar eats whatever Mahendra feeds him. He never eats anything given by other people.
Interestingly, the Forest Department officials have left the animal twice in the forest so that he could live in his habitat, but the animal has always made his way back to Mahendra’s home.
“The wild boar is with me for more than 25 years. He goes to jungle but comes back to me. He is set free to roam wherever he wants. Forest department tried to leave the animal in suitable habitat, but in vain. Currently, he is living in a temple. When I take his name, he comes to me. When I had rescued the animal, he was weighing 400 gram. He could have died if I had left the animal in the jungle after rescuing. So, I took him with me and got him treated,” Mahendra said.
He continues: “The animal eats whatever I eat. He even eats temple bhog, fruits and authentic dishes of Odisha like rice and dalma. He never eats non-veg. He has grown up amid villagers for the last 25 years. Thus, he never harms fellow villagers.”