Girikumar Patil, an Indian doctor in war-torn Ukraine has been holed up in a basement at home with his pet big cats – a black panther and a jaguar.
Patil bought the two cats from the Kyiv zoo about 20 months ago, he says he will not leave home without his pets. He has lived for over six years in Severodonetsk, a small town located in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.
After the war began, Patil, has been stepping out of his basement only to buy food for his cats – the male jaguar is 20 months old and the female panther is a six-month-old cub – after the curfew ends early in the morning.
He added, the jaguar is a rare hybrid between a male leopard and a female jaguar. Patil said, it is the second war he is living but it is scarier.
He said he was earlier living in Luhansk, where Russian-backed rebels have been fighting Ukrainian troops since 2014 despite a ceasefire agreement.
Patil, who hails from the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, said that he spent 35,000 US Dollars to buy the panther and the jaguar from the Kyiv zoo about 20 months ago. He said the zoo allowed private sales of animals provided the owner had enough space to keep them.