By Jamie Smith
This hunky animal rescuer sets more than animals’ hearts aflutter as he keeps birds flying and mammals fighting fit.
Muscled Avihu Sherwood, 38, certainly has a softer side and has saved thousands of wild animals in a career spanning 20 years.
The handsome animal lover got to the point where he set up his own sanctuary in Elishama, Israel, so he could perform surgery on animals and provide a safe home to those he could not relocate.
Images show Avihu stepping in to care for a porcupine with neurological problems after he was rejected by his mother in a petting zoo.
He has also taken in a meerkat neglected and left malnourished by another petting zoo, who had sadly lost one of his eyes.
Avihu has also rescued two blue and gold macaw parrots and several coatis from the show industry, and operated on numerous broken bird wings.
After making sure the animals are healthy, he then gives them a cute kiss and cuddle before releasing them back into the wild.
But his For The Wildlife animal sanctuary is still home to 50 animals who are not well enough to be released.
Photographer Dafna Ben Nun was allowed into the sanctuary to capture Avihu’s tender moments with the animals he cares so much for.
Avihu said: “I have been rescuing animals for at least 20 years now.
“My favourite memory is looking after a golden jackal that was hit by a train.
“Every vet said he should be put down but I insisted that I could treat him and believed he could recover.
“He had a serious back injury and I cared for him all by myself. After a few months he was released back into nature having made a full recovery. It was one of my happiest days.
“I have rescued thousands of birds, mammals and reptiles throughout the years. Last year alone it was approximately 1500 birds, 300 mammals and 20 reptiles.
“There are about 50 animals that permanently reside at the sanctuary because their injuries mean they cannot be released.”