Breastfeeding in the Indian sun, the woman is not just nursing her own child, but a baby orphaned fawn. The sight may be a shock to outsiders, but here amongst the ‘Bishnoi’ tribe, animals are just as much a part of the family as their own offspring.
Nursing mothers here in this remote region in Rajasthan, a state in northern India, have taken in orphaned and injured fawns for more than half a century – and couldn’t imagine it being any other way.
‘These baby deers are my life and they’re like my own children,’ said Mangi Devi Bishnoi, 45, a housewife from one of the villages.‘I feed them milk and food and ensure they’re given proper care and attention in the house like all my family members.
‘They are not orphans when they have us around, they have new mothers like me who offer them a mother’s feed for a healthy life.’
The people of the Bishnoi community, a religious group of nature worshippers, live next to jungles and deserted areas and often grow up playing with all sorts of animals – and in fear of none. Click “Continue Reading” to see more photos