The cub now has a tiger of his own. Aaditya Thackeray, the Yuva Sena chief, has adopted a five-year-old tiger at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP). His younger brother Tejas has also adopted two rusty spotted cats.
It's no secret that the Thackerays are wildlife enthusiasts. Aaditya said that his brother Tejas is involved in conservation, and so chose to adopt two endangered rusty spotted cats
The cages that serve as homes for the animals will sport the names of the two brothers, who will get to meet the beasts once a week. The forest department officially allowed the animals to be adopted last week, with the department confirming that the Thackerays are now proud guardians of three animals that stay in SGNP.
mid-day had reported last year that the Thackerays had shown keenness in adopting tigers at SGNP, but had failed to receive consent. File pic
The symbolism involved in adopting a tiger is well-timed, with the party, which has the tiger as its emblem, having won the 18 seats in the recently conducted Lok Sabha elections, their biggest haul yet in a general election in the country.
mid-day had reported last year that the Thackerays had shown keenness in adopting tigers at SGNP, but had failed to receive consent from the department (‘Political tigers want to adopt real tigers,’ October 23). Vikas Gupta, SGNP director and chief conservator of forest (CCF), said, “The Thackeray family had approached us and shown interest in adopting a tiger and a rusty spotted cat.
A week ago, we lifted the embargo. We can say that Aaditya Thackeray has adopted a five-year old tiger called Yash, and his younger brother Tejas Thackeray has adopted two rusty spotted cats. We expect more people to come forward for the adoption of wild animals.”
In December last year, the government finally consented to the forest department’s long-standing proposal that regular citizens be allowed to adopt animals at SGNP. The go-ahead, however, came with a list of caveats. As per the government rules, an animal can only be adopted for a year.
The rulebook categorically mentions that the animal would ultimately belong to the state government, even after adoption. The individuals adopting the animal can visit it once a week, free of cost, and at a particular time.
Those who adopt the beast cannot dictate terms like the space of the cage it is kept in, or the kind of food it is fed. It’s no secret that the Thackerays are wildlife enthusiasts. Party chief Uddhav Thackeray often goes on safaris and is an avid wildlife photographer.
It appears that this is the first allotment made by the forest department in the adoption programme that was recently implemented at the national park. The ultimate aim of this adoption scheme is to create awareness and respect among citizens about wildlife.
Meanwhile, Aaditya Thackeray confirmed that he and Tejas had adopted the beasts, and had even received certificates confirming the adoption. “The tiger safari at SGNP is dad’s (Uddhav) brainchild, implemented by the Sena-BJP government.
Our family takes a keen interest in wildlife and my brother is involved in its conservation. He believes that the rusty spotted cat is an endangered species and needs to be protected. When the government came up with the idea, we decided to adopt the animals.”