Vrindavan, 2017.11.17 (VT): This morning, residents of Chaitanya Vihar phase 2 were shocked to see two neelgai being chased by local dogs. Seeing the neelgai running for their lives, residents were shocked and were hoping that these gentle creatures would make it back to the small patch of jungle that separates the colony from Dorera village.
The neelgai were seen in the early morning. No doubt they had wandered into the colony in search of grass as the colony is not yet fully developed so there are still vacant plots in which villagers graze cows buffalo, sheep and goats.
Like in most colonies in Vrindavan, there are packs of stray dogs, which feed on scraps and are also fed by people who believe that dogs are the gatekeepers of heaven. Environmental activist Shravan Mukherjee said, “There needs to be a dialogue between the scientific and religious views of Vrindavan’s ecology. Feeding dogs may be good from a religious point of view, but packs of dogs are damaging to the natural ecology. Stray dogs prey on wildlife and spread diseases like intestinal worms.”
Neelgai are not yet considered an endangered species, however, they have become extinct in Bangladesh due to rampant hunting, deforestation and habitat degradation. Their scientific name Boselaphus comes from the combination of the Latin bos (“cow” or “ox”) and the Greek elaphos (“deer”). These beautiful and gentle creatures can often be seen on the outskirts of the villages of Braj. They are considered a nuisance by farmers as, if given a chance, they will eat most crops; but pilgrims who see them are often left with the feeling that they have been blessed with the darshan of one of Krishna’s more mysterious creatures.