Aaliya Mir, Kashmir’s teacher turned wildlife conservationist

By Tabbasum Aziz

Srinagar, September 20 (IANS): While most people are afraid of snakes and other wild animals, Aaliya Mir has been gripped by fear.

Mir, 42, from Srinagar is a courageous woman who, with great courage, skill and passion, performs deeds that amaze everyone. Aaliya is dedicated to reducing the growing conflict between animals and humans and providing shelter to the animals.

She works for Wildlife SOS, an NGO, and is also part of the Wildlife Department’s rescue team. Aaliya used to be a math teacher. However, her compassion and affection for animals has drawn her to this work since childhood.

Aaliya is not only adept at capturing venomous snakes, but also has the unique ability to rescue dangerous wildlife such as bears and leopards. She recently rescued a 6ft snake from a shelter outside the Civil Secretariat in the winter capital of Srinagar.

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In the Kashmir valley, news of wild animals moving towards human settlements is increasing day by day, which also leads to conflicts between humans and animals. Attacks by wild animals on humans have cost many precious lives and many people have also been seriously injured. In recent years, many people, including young children, have lost their lives after being attacked by leopards and bears in the Kashmir valley, especially in the remote areas.

Aaliya has been associated with SOS since 2007. Despite rescuing hundreds of animals, she only made headlines when she caught a snake at former Prime Minister Omar Abdullah’s Gupkar Road residence. After that, Aaliya often made headlines. Although her bravery and work were appreciated in every way, Aaliya says that the sole purpose of her life is to reduce the conflict between animals and humans so that both can live peacefully in their own circles.

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At first she was hesitant and afraid to do this work, but over time her motivation increased and she got better at her job. Women have often been referred to as the “sensitive gender”, but women have used their skills and courage to create a unique and distinctive identity even in areas previously reserved for men, while also accomplishing tasks that seemed impossible for a woman .

Rapid deforestation is forcing wildlife to move toward human habitats, which has also led to an alarming increase in human-wildlife conflicts. In the midst of this situation, Aaliya organizes awareness programs and offers animal welfare.

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According to them, when an animal goes to a settlement in search of food, the brutality of these animals arises in response to the collective malaise of people, which then sometimes becomes the cause of loss of human life and so on. These incidents have resulted in several deaths over the years.

Aaliya currently works as a project manager at Wildlife SOS, which works with the Wildlife Department of Kashmir. Wildlife SOS (SOS) is a non-governmental conservation organization that has been working to save and rehabilitate wildlife since 1995.

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