Lhakpa Quendren | Gelephu

Jigmeling Animal Rescue Centre in Sarpang has become a safe haven for vulnerable livestock animals. Situated amidst lush green forests, about a kilometer below the Gelephu-Sarpang highway, the center exudes tranquility.

This rescue center serves as a shelter for a diverse range of animals, currently accommodating 80 pigs, 35 chickens, 14 ducks, 12 goats, two dogs, a donkey, and an ox, offering them a secure environment. Some chickens occasionally lay eggs.

The rescue center is dedicated to saving animals from slaughter and providing them with a safe and nurturing environment. It also serves as a home for unproductive animals from the Sarpang area.

A dedicated team of three men and two women takes care of the rescued animals’ medical needs, ensuring they receive necessary care, treatment, and food. However, this dedicated effort is not without its challenges, as the team faces obstacles in its mission to provide optimal care for the animals.

The shelter heavily relies on donations and grants to acquire the necessary funding and resources to operate. Rinchen Tharzom, 27, who manages the shelter, emphasizes that additional contributions would be crucial in expanding the shelter’s facilities, enabling them to cater to a larger number of animals and provide better care to those in need.

Rinchen expressed that the shelter is currently facing financial constraints, preventing them from renovating and improving their facilities. “Funding and resources are acquired through donations, which would help the center expand its facilities and reach more animals in need.”

Given the small size and compactness of the shelters for rescued pigs, there is a concerning issue of pigs biting each other, resulting in injuries and wounds. The limited space in the shelters often contributes to this behavior, according to the caretaker. Aggression and potential harm among the pigs in the shelter are evident, as some of them are suffering from bite injuries.

The animals are fed food waste derived from the distillation process of rice yeast fermentation from the army welfare project. The cost of each barrel of food is Nu 50, and the animals consume three barrels of food per day. The transportation of the food is carried out using a dedicated Jumbo truck and a Bolero pickup vehicle belonging to the center.

Rinchen Tharzom acknowledges that the center also depends on the generous assistance provided by rescued animal owners and others who compassionately contribute to the cause. These contributions, she says, play a significant role in supporting the center’s operations and ensuring the well-being of the animals under their care.

Located along the border, the shelter faces additional challenges, such as the presence of wild elephants in the vicinity. However, there have been no reported incidents of elephants causing disturbances or posing a threat to the shelters.

The owner not only manages the rescue center in Sarpang but also takes care of separate shelters for goats in Samtse and cattle in Samdrupjongkhar, ensuring the well-being of animals across different areas.