Do you have any idea, how many dogs are becoming roadkill everyday in India?
As per SPCA, Chandigarh survey, over 1600 animals were killed in road accidents in the year 2013. The sad fact is that there is no such data generated or kept a track of in the last two years. It is likely that the numbers will vary from state to state but this is a major concern for many of us (doglovers) in India. India is a home to about 30 million stray dogs which keeps rising everyday and with the rise in numbers, the chances of them being a roadkill increases significantly.
So what are we doing about it?
Well, there are a few people like Shantanu Naidu, a 24-year-old engineer from Pune, who has taken up the matter into his hands by raising awareness on safety of stray dogs, and coming up with a unique reflective collar idea.
Shantanu has been rescuing strays and abandoned dogs with the help of animal welfare services. He says that as per a survey and research conducted by him and other volunteers, they found out that most of the roadkills happen due to visibility problems. On the basis of this research, he formed Motopaws to save dogs from being a roadkill.
The Collar Design
He started working on a collar design to help visibility of stray dogs on roads, especially during night time. He used a Retro Reflective Fabric with denim base to create this collar. This helped him reduce the base cost as reflective fabric is quite costly. With the first batch of collars ready, he realized that he needed something more to create the visibility during day time as well. He started using an orange mesh fabric (used in security jackets). This made the collar visible during day and more prominent during nights.
Motopaws has generated immense popularity in the recent times and they have put collars around 2,700 dogs in Delhi, Goa, Assam, Uttarakhand, Bengaluru, Pune and Mumbai. But they don’t give out the collars to anyone who approaches them. The collar is kept as free for now. But it does cost them a lot to manufacture these collars. As Naidu explains it, the cost of each collar comes to around Rs. 50, including the stitching cost. Shantanu, along with volunteers and friends have managed to manufacture 1,200 collars per month.
Backing by Ratan Tata
As the cost of the cause began to put pressure on their pockets, they needed help. They presented their initiative to Mr. Ratan Tata, who is an ardent dog lover and loves to contribute for dog welfare. He loved the idea and decided to support Naidu’s initiative by paying from his own pocket. Currently, 70 percent of the production cost is being taken care of by Mr. Tata and 30 percent by Naidu and other volunteers linked with various NGOs. However, Mr. Tata has asked them not to consider this backing as a long-term deal. He said that Motopaws has to find its own footing in the market and self-sustain in the future.