Rickshaw Drivers Spot Electrocuted Monkey in Distress, and Drop Everything to Save Her

April 3, 2019 Updated: April 7, 2019

A group of Indian auto rickshaw drivers in Mumbai had grown so accustomed to the adorable little monkey they passed each morning that when they didn’t see her for a few days, it immediately raised a red flag.

Then, when they saw just why she’d gone missing, they realized that work was no longer their priority that day.

Twenty-three-year-old Dilip Rai told DNA India that he and three fellow auto drivers had first spotted the tiny monkey back in November, when she made her home in a tree near Saibaba temple, which stood close to where the four worked.

They had grown so used to the monkey being around that they’d started to feed her fruit when they could, developing an attachment to the seemingly sweet-tempered primate.

They noticed one day in late January that the monkey seemed to be missing from the tree—and a few days later, they were horrified when she turned back up, electrocuted so badly that she could hardly move.

“On several occasions, we used to even feed [her] fruits. Three days ago, she disappeared. She came back Tuesday morning—badly burnt. She unable to move,” Rai explained.

Rai discussed the situation with his friends Shiraz Khan, Mahesh Gupta, and Sabhajeet Rai, and the four quickly came to an agreement: even if it meant delaying their work for the day, they needed to get the monkey to a vet.

They looked online, then took the monkey to wildlife veterinarian Dr. Rina Dev for treatment. She was beyond impressed when, instead of dropping the monkey off and leaving, the four stuck around to help her treat the injured animal and get her to Pawan Sharma, who works as the Wildlife Warden for Thane and is the president of Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare (RAWW) at Mulund.

A closer examination revealed that the monkey may have been domesticated at one point, but it certainly hadn’t been by the rickshaw drivers—which, according to Sharma, made the four of them a perfect example of how the rest of humanity should behave in that situation. It showed how compassion for animals can make a difference; although the monkey was initially listed as in critical condition with burns over 30 percent of her face and body, she has slowly been improving in condition as the weeks go by.

The adorable monkey and the sweet gentlemen who were willing to care for her went viral, as the media picked up the story and started to follow her recovery. After being dubbed “Agni,” the monkey has undergone a fantastic transformation and seems to be well on her way to full health once again.

Sharma, who had rescued over 10,000 animals by age 26, makes it a goal to get each and every animal ready to return to the wild once they’ve returned to full strength. Hopefully, that’s the kind of ending that Agni will have as well!

Even as Agni gets better, though, the Thane SPCA has been raising awareness for the dangers of urbanization in India—where electrocution for wild animals in areas they were able to roam free not long ago is far too common. Hopefully, stories like this one can become far less frequent in the future.