Dr Prakash Amte, son of social worker Baba Amte, along with his wife Mandakini, set up an animal rescue shelter in the courtyard of their house in Hemalkasa, Maharashtra. It is called The Amte Animal Ark and it currently houses about 90 wild animals.
His effort was recognised as a rescue shelter in 1991 and the animals he houses include jackals, leopards, hyenas, porcupines, Indian python, crocodile, peacocks, sloth bears, etc. The shelter is a visitor attraction, especially amongst children.
He started sheltering orphaned animals after he came across the tribals who hunt the adult animals for food. He was shocked to find out that even the baby animals are used to provide food. He requested them to give him the baby monkey in exchnage for rice. That was the first deal they struck, which continues even today.
Not just animals, Prakash Amte’s sons are doctors and they run the Amte Hospital where they treat people for as little as ₹10 token fee. His daughters and his grandchildren are all social workers and they plan to continue the tradition their parents started.
Dr. Prakash and Dr. Mandakini were awarded the Ramon Magsasay Award in 2008 for their work in Gadchiroli. With great simplicity and saint-like devotion, they continue their work in this remote village.