Life will never be the same for Ravindra Gangaram Nivate. The 52-year-old caretaker at the Byculla zoo was inconsolable after learning that Shiva, the rhinoceros he loved, had breathed his last at the Delhi zoo on Wednesday.
The pride of Byculla zoo, Shiva was shifted to Delhi in August 2013 as part of a breeding programme. A teary-eyed Nivate, “He was like my child. I have been looking after him since he was a calf. He listened to me, he could talk to me, and he was the pride of our zoo.
Shiva’s caretaker from Byculla zoo Ravindra Gangaram Nivate reminisces the time he spent looking after the rhinoceros. Pic/Suresh KK
I was under the impression that he was doing well there. People who visit the zoo always ask about him. They should have never shifted him there. The void he has left behind can never be fulfilled.”
Bonded by love
Recalling their daily routine, before Shiva was shifted to Delhi, Nivate said the two greeted each other at 8 am every day. Around 9 am, Shiva would start signalling him that he was hungry.
“Sugarcane and Guinea grass were among his favourites. Shiva and me shared a special bond. I would immediately understand whether he was unwell well or in a foul mood.
I would talk to him in Marathi and Shiva understood every bit of our conversations. Every time Shiva fell sick, I would pray at the dargah inside the zoo. With him no more in this world, I feel I have one reason less to live,” he said.