Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Come on, Amdavadis! Show your generosity

Come on, Amdavadis! Show your generosity
Kamala Nehru Zoological Garden, better known as Kankaria Zoo, is struggling to find adopters for animals. And generous Amdavadis can come in handy. Picture this statistic: though a programme ‘Friends of Zoo’ was started way back in 2008 that allowed people to adopt wild animals on a yearly basis, only about 50 of the 2,500 wild animals, birds and reptiles were adopted in 2016-17. When it comes to companies and organisations, the figure is worst. Between 2008 and 2017, only three firms or companies came to the aid of animals.

One provided industrial coolers and another mist machines to keep animals cool during summers. A bank donated water coolers to ensure animals got cold water. Students who come with their parents are the biggest adopters when it comes to numbers though they adopt birds that do not have huge upkeep cost. Gujarat is the last abode of Asiatic Lions but no one has adopted lions or lionesses since 2008. Tiger and whitebacked vulture, which fall under endangered species, have also not found any takers either. Same is the case with black bear, hippopotamus, jackal and hyena.

Also, Anaconda that can grow to more than 30 feet has never been adopted. Former mayor Amit Shah adopted a crown pigeon for three years and so did former councilor Mahendra Patel. When Friends of Zoo started in 2008, 57 animals were adopted with a total donation of Rs 10.96 lakh towards food and animal management charges. In 2015-16, only 42 animals were adopted and Rs 5.18 lakh collected. The number of animals, birds and reptiles adopted in 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 was 20, 36, 46 and 42 respectively.

Surprisingly, there have never been more than 50 adoptions in a single year except for the first time in 2008. Charity or collection of funds not the aim “Friends of Zoo programme was not started with the purpose of collecting funds or charity for food and animal management. We get enough funds from the municipal corporation, Rs 7-8 crore for operational costs and equal amount for capital expenditure. Adoption programme covers just a fraction of the annual budget. The idea behind Friends of Zoo is to bring people, especially children and students closer to wildlife and to involve people in conservation of animals. The idea is invoke a sense of pride that they can adopt animals that they otherwise cannot keep as pets; promote conservation, education and research.

We give certificates, special tickets and boldly display names of people outside enclosures of animals and birds they adopt,” director of the zoo Dr R K Sahu told Mirror. Animals adopted out of astrological concerns While most people adopt animals because they are fond of wildlife in general, the zoo aims to engage more and more people. Then there are those who adopt animals as it suits their birth charts. “We have known people in the past adopting a cobra because they had kaal sarp dosh, or deer were adopted because they had rahu or ketu and feeding them green grass diminishes its effects.

Besides, there have been instances when people have adopted an owl because it is the vehicle of Goddess Laxmi whereas monkeys are adopted because they signify Lord Hanuman. We also had Maruti Transport Company adopting a monkey in the past out of obeisance for Lord Hanuman. Peacocks are adopted not only because they are national birds but also because of its beauty,” said Dr Sahu. A group of solicitors has adopted elephant Rupa, whose cost of upkeep is highest at Rs 2.58 lakh per year, since 2008. A group of builders has adopted amale and a female leopard.


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