Mumbai: Animal adoption scheme finds no takers at SGNP

Authorities at Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) had hoped that the animal adoption scheme would relieve at least some of the financial burden behind the care of the park’s inmates, but to their disappointment, not even a single person has come forward to adopt the creatures there this year.

Tiger
Take a closer look: Citizens can visit their adopted animal for a closer look once a month, and in addition, their name will be displayed at the enclosure as well. File Pic

According to officials, while many people have come forward to adopt, with enquiries, they lose interest when they hear how much the adoption will cost. In addition, the news of the many recent deaths at the park has also discouraged many.

“We had initially thought that the animal adoption scheme started by SGNP would receive a very good response and all the animals in captivity would be adopted, but the response to the scheme has been lukewarm,” said an official from SGNP, adding that the authorities suspected this may be due to the lack of publicity, and the park would now reach out to the public through social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

In 2014, nine animals had been adopted by citizens, but not a single animal has been adopted so far this year. According to the official, there have been many people who came forward to ask about the adoption process but were taken aback by the steep cost.

“Some people who came forward for enquiry tell us that the rates of adoption are too high. These rates have been finalised by the government and nothing much can be done about that,” he added.

Many wildlife enthusiasts also expressed concerns about the number of animals that have died at SGNP in the last 18 months. Citizens fear that if their adopted animal dies, they will lose their money and not get a chance to adopt another animal.

“If a person adopts an animal which then dies, then the person can adopt another creature but they will have to pay the full cost for that as well,” the official explained, adding that this was according to the government regulations.

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“The reason for the lukewarm response is the adoption scheme hasn’t been advertised much. Information boards about this need to be put up in the park and on the official Facebook page of SGNP. Another reason why more people are not coming forward is because of the deaths of animals in the SGNP captivity. The animals might be dying due to age-related ailments, but the news of death acts as negative publicity,” said Pawan Sharma from the NGO Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare (RAWW).

Benefits
>> The citizen’s family will be allowed to visit the adopted animal for a closer look once a month  
>> A plaque bearing the citizen’s name will be displayed at the animal’s enclosure

2 million: The number of people visiting the Sanjay Gandhi National Park annually

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