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Cash-strapped zoo to businesses: Adopt animals

The Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park has now opened its animal adoption scheme to the corporate sector and is seeking a response from the business community, as the funds from the PMC for animal maintenance are not sufficient.

Sources in the zoo say that as a result of the shortfall, zoo officials had even increased rates of tickets.

As the zoo is about to set up a conservation breeding centre for endangered animals, including the rusty spotted cat, mouse deer and giant Malabar squirrel, it needs additional funds. Of the 350 animals and birds at the zoo, some tigers, a leopard, a spotted deer and a peacock have been adopted by individuals in the past year-and-half, but only for a period of less than three months.

"Though the initial response was good, we need more people to take up the initiative. We have opened the scheme to the corporate sector to adopt animals for a few months or even a year and will be approaching them. In the past year, only individuals have been showing interest in adopting animals," said Rajkumar Jadhav, director, Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park.

Though there are different rates for different animals, anybody interested can approach the zoo office and select an animal, after which they will have to fill up forms and get their names registered. By adopting an animal, the a business or individual will pay for its food and veterinary treatment.

The individual or the organisation will have a board displaying their names outside the enclosures of the animals they adopt and also get a zoo-sponsored guided tour of the entire Katraj Park.

"If more animals are adopted, it will inculcate a sense of responsibility among visitors on wildlife conservation. Though wildlife is government property, it is also the responsibility of the common man to conserve it," Jadhav said.

More to come
The zoo has also asked the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) for new enclosures for lions, hyenas, wild dogs, leopards, nilgai and barking deer and for several bird species. The zoo also plans to increase the number of various animals by next month, which will be done through exchange programmes between zoos.

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