Indian doctor refuses to leave Ukraine without pet leopards

Indian doctor refuses to leave Ukraine without pet leopards
Dr. Girikumar Patil has been holed up in his basement with his two big cats as he tries to protect them from Russia's relentless invasion.
2 min read
07 March, 2022
Dr. Girikumar Patil is trying to protect Yagwar and Sabrina, his two big cats, from the war in Ukraine (Instagram)

An Indian doctor has been holed up for more than a week in his basement in war-torn Ukraine, alongside his two big cats – a rare leopard jaguar crossbreed and a black panther – which he refuses to leave behind to flee the country.

Dr. Girikumar Patil has lived for the past six years in Severodonetsk in the Donbas region of Ukraine.

Since the war began, he had only left home to buy food for his cats.

He told the BBC that he has so far had to buy 23 kgs of sheep, turkey and chicken at much higher prices than normal. He has tried to find a way out but has so far been unsuccessful. 

"I called the Embassy but didn't get a proper response," he said according to Asian News International.

This was the second war he lived through, having earlier lived in Luhansk where Russian-backed forces have been fighting Ukrainian troops since 2014. 

Yagwar and Sabrina, his two big cats, were purchased from Kyiv zoo nearly two years ago for around $35,000 US dollars.

Dr. Patil hails from the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh who first moved to Ukraine fifteen years ago to pursue his medical degree.

He goes by the name Jaguar Kumar on social media and runs a popular YouTube channel in his native Telugu which, according to the description, "aims to raise awareness about endangered wild big cats for the purpose of wild species preservation, education and awareness".

Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine has led to thousands of deaths and widespread destruction, while 1.7 million Ukrainians have fled.

India has so far evacuated 15,000 out of the roughly 18,000 citizens that lived in Ukraine according to government sources.