30 March 2018

National Award to the Karuna Society

The below posting is connected with animals, but happily much more cheerful than the several preceding narratives that I wrote about Rukku the Elephant.

On 8th March 2018 Clementien Koenegras, The Karuna Society President and Founder, in recognition of her work in the service of animals, received the 'Nari Shakti Puraskar' award presented by the Honourable President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovindji. Congratulations to you Clementien.

Receiving Award from the President of India

The Karuna Society at Puttaparthi was a major inspiration to the creation of the Arunachala Animal Sanctuary here at Tiruvannamalai. The Karuna Society is doing truly remarkable service in Andhra Pradesh and I recommend you visit their website and learn about their work.

History of The Karuna Society

“Hello! My name is Clementien Koenegras, President of the Society and I'd like to tell you how Karuna Society came to life.

When I arrived in Puttaparthi with my husband and son in 1995, it didn’t take much time for me to see the suffering of animals all around. I saw countless street dogs with pups, often run over by buses on the main road. I was also concerned about donkeys dying on the side of the main road without any help.

Very soon my house was full of sick animals and I was helping out on the street as much as I could. Of course, I was not the only one moved by this misery. A small group of devotees from the UK came forward to help and to provide funds, and the "Animal Rescue Project Puttaparthi" was born on 23rd August 1998 with the help of CUPA (Compassion Unlimited Plus Action) from Bangalore. In 2000, we felt we were ready to make our own decisions and planning and on September 18 "Karuna Society for Animals & Nature" was registered.

Setting up the shelter/clinic for treatment, in-patient care and sterilizations was the first step. Then our horizon widened and we became aware of the suffering of milking animals, starving calves and illegal transports to the slaughterhouses. In 2002 we rescued the first cows and buffaloes from illegal transport. Over time we have taken into our care more than 700 head of cattle. At present, approximately 300 head of cattle are with us including donkeys, a few horses and a camel.

Becoming more and more aware of our wider environment, we found the suffering of wildlife appalling: hunting by the local communities, droughts, electrocution of wildlife by farmers to protect their crops; there is no end to it.

At present, we are starting the construction of our new wildlife rescue centre close to the reserve forest, for which we need more support. There, sloth bears, deer, monkeys, birds and snakes will find the care they need.

On a personal note, being so intimately involved with the lives of animals has given me a very profound experience of the oneness and equality of all life forms emanating from the Divine.”

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