Bizman hears call of the wild
Salvaging the Pride of Gujarat, a businessman donated a generous sum to adopt an Asiatic lion at the Kankaria zoo on Wednesday. A day after Mirror published a report urging Amdavadis to become 'Friends of the Zoo' and adopt animals, the 52-year-old anonymous benefactor adopted not just the lion but also a jackal, a white-backed vulture, a jungle cat and a Nicobar pigeon. Gujarat is the last abode of Asiatic Lions but no one has adopted lions or lionesses since 2008.
Prompted by Mirror's February 15 report 'Come on, Amdavadis! Show your generosity' which showed how Kankaria Zoo struggles to find adopters for its over 2,500 inhabitants, the businessman donated Rs 1.65 lakh for the upkeep of all these animals. Confirming this, zoo director R K Sahu said, "After reading Mirror, a businessman called me on Wednesday morning offering to adopt animals, including the Asiatic lion."
"The yearly adoption charge for the Asiatic lion is Rs 1,26,260. The yearly charge for the white-backed vulture is Rs 10,260, the jackal is Rs 15,260, the jungle cat is Rs 10,260 and the Nicobar pigeon is Rs 2,960," informed the zoo director. The businessman adopted Ambar the lion who is 10 years old. He had had already surveyed the zoo to check out the animals before meeting the director.
"He told me he was a frequent visitor to the zoo but never knew he could adopt animals. Usually, we display the name of the benefactor on the display board next to the animal's enclosure. His only wish, however, was that we keep his name a secret," Dr Sahu said, adding, "The businessman is very religious and feels that displaying his name will denote arrogance. He just wanted to fulfil his moral responsibility by doing something for the wild animals and raise awareness for them."