Thursday, May 31, 2018

Hyderabad zoo’s ‘adopt an animal’ scheme finds takers

Lakshmi Ramakrishna May 31, 2018 13:41 IST
Do your bit Animal lovers can give an animal a healthy life BY ARRANGMENT Do your bit Animal lovers can give an animal a healthy life BY ARRANGMENT   | Photo Credit: BY ARRANGMENT

25 animals from Nehru Zoological Park have been adopted during 2016-17

What is common between Anil Kumble, MS Dhoni, Zaheer Khan, Javagal Srinath, Dia Mirza and Priyanka Chopra? Apart from sports, they all share a love for animals. At some point of time, they have ‘adopted’ animals in zoos across the country, to give them a healthy life. In Hyderabad, though no celebrity has adopted any animal in the Nehru Zoological Park, some individuals and companies have together contributed a sum of ₹43.62 lakh towards care of 25 animals during the year 2016-17.

Hyderabad zoo’s ‘adopt an animal’ scheme finds takers
The Nehru Zoological Park, Hyderabad, spread over 380 acres, located adjacent to the 600-acre Mir Alam Tank, houses nearly 155 indigenous and exotic species numbering about 1550 animals, birds and reptiles. The 55-year-old-zoo is a popular destination and draws nearly 30 lakh visitors annually. The zoo plays a vital role in ensuring the survival of many wildlife species, conservation and breeding of rare and endangered species.

The scheme

The zoo started the ‘Adopt an animal scheme’ first in 2014, but it did not find enough takers. Ratnakar Ari, manager, Nehru Zoological Park, says, “One can adopt any animal, big or small. The adoption programme enables individuals, corporations, schools, clubs, families and groups to participate and make a valuable contribution towards the care and enrichment of the animals living here.” He believes that the adoption fee not only helps the zoo to take care of the animals, but also goes towards the protection of endangered species. The zoo has successfully completed the reproduction protocol for mouse deer which is being reintroduced in the wild, he shares.

Hyderabad zoo’s ‘adopt an animal’ scheme finds takers
Sidhanand Kukrety, additional principal chief conservator of forests and director of Nehru Zoological Park, states that although a government initiative, the Hyderabad zoo is slowly inching towards self-sufficiency. “We endeavour to upgrade our facilities, from our esteemed donors and visitors under the aegis of Zoo and Parks Authority of Telangana. However, owing to our large number of exhibits, the funds for supporting all species, upgrading facilities, and other educational programme are insufficient. Therefore, contribution from animal lovers would provide the much needed help in advancing the zoo’s work with wildlife conservation,” he explains. He shares that it is also a rare opportunity to teach children and adults to take care of living creatures and understand the environment that wild animals belong to.
According to Ratnakar, all animals adopted are symbolic adoptions and remain within the zoo. Animal choices are subject to change; if for some reason, the animal that has been adopted needs to be removed from the zoo, then the adoption will be transferred to another animal of one’s choice. “If one is interested, one can adopt Royal Bengal Tiger, Asiatic Lion, giraffe, hippo, rhino, elephant, chimpanzee, black buck, bear, monkey and many more.”

Hyderabad zoo’s ‘adopt an animal’ scheme finds takers
“Organisations like Suryalakshmi Cotton Mills, Sujai A Persa Adia Trust, State Bank of India, and some individuals like K Vishnu Priya, C Rama Devi, Sricharan Veeramachineni, Minu, Gattoji Balagangadhar Achary, Saroj Devi, Ashalatha Pentala, Kalpana Vishwas and N S Ramjee have adopted elephants, squirrel monkey, common langur, lion safari, leopard, jaguar, chimpanzee, giraffe, ostrich, parrots, tiger, cheetah and panther, peacock and Indian gahrial to name a few,” Kukrety mentions. He reveals that the State Bank of India has been paying ₹15 lakh every year by adopting tigers.

Hyderabad zoo’s ‘adopt an animal’ scheme finds takers

Benefits to donors

The adoption fee is eligible for income tax deduction under Section 80G (2) & (5) of IT ACT 1961. Other benefits include free entry to the zoo and car park, allotment of guest house for the day when the donor visits the zoo, certificate of adoption with a photo of the animal, zoo souvenir and innovative merchandise and the individual’s name/company logo displayed near the enclosure, zoo website and mobile application.

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