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More adoption schemes in Alipore zoo soon

Times of India, New Delhi, September 9, 2014

 

The Alipore Zoological Gardens had thrown its gates open for public participation in taking care of its animals with the adoption scheme exactly a year ago. Twelve months down the line, the scheme is going great guns and has even inspired the State Zoo Authority — the custodian of all zoos in Bengal — to launch more such schemes to take forward the initiative that was snubbed at by many during its launch. The new schemes will be announced immediately after the Pujas. "We will continue with the adoption schemes. Moreover, we are about to announce two new schemes - Friends of Zoo and Zoo Volunteers," said BR Sharma, principal chief conservator of forests who is also the member secretary of the State Zoo Authority. Over the last one year, the zoo has received hundreds of requests for adoption. Those who adopted animals last year are willing to renew their agreement as well. Take the case of chest specialist Abhijit Banerjee, who had adopted a sloth bear last time and is looking forward to a renewal now. "It is indeed a rewarding experience.

 

Apart from the board outside the enclosure of your chosen animal that announces your name as the adoptive parent, there is nothing much intrinsic about the relationship. You can neither touch nor photograph yourself with your ward, but the fact that you are in some way providing for its upkeep gave me a rare sense of fulfillment," Banerjee said. Teacher Avi Nauzer Batliwala had adopted a kangaroo last time but the kids of the household were so happy visiting the zoo throughout the year that this year she is adopting two macaus as well. Same is the case with Bhaskar Mukherjee, who is renewing his love for his ward Pilu, a pea fowl. Again, Sandip Singha Roy, who had adopted a zebra and a leopard last time, is repeating his decision this time again. Does the sponsors' money get used to feed the wards or to buy their medicines? "Not really. There is an annual budget that we get from the state government for their upkeep and this is spent on food, medicines and treatment. The adoptors' money gets deposited in a separate account, which goes back directly to the state government.

 

The total expense is Rs 6 crore for food, medicines and treatment and in the first year of adoption we have been able to collect Rs 27 lakh. It is possible that if in the coming years we find more enthusiasts and this amount goes up, the state can think of re-adjusting the budget allocation," said Alipore Zoo director KL Ghosh. Apart from individual enthusiasts and companies that have adopted animals, three schools have also come forward to donate. Kids of Calcutta Girls High School, DPS Ruby Park and Garia Motilal Sarkar Vidyalaya have collected money and adopted emus, pheasants, macaus and pea fowls. Several inquiries have come from other schools also. Explaining the two new schemes, Sharma said that the Friend of Zoo will be a title given to any one wanting to make an annual contribution of Rs 5000 towards the upkeep of zoo animals. They will be given badges, car stickers and free entry permits. Stay updated on the go with The Times of India’s mobile apps. Click here to download it for your device.