The Weekend Leader - Wildlife guardians

Scheme for adopting zoo animals big hit in Bhopal



Vol 2 | Issue 24

They are not high-profile celebrities, but at least 33 wildlife lovers have adopted animals at Bhopal’s Van Vihar National Park under their unique guardianship scheme.

The concept of adopting zoo animals received a major boost when Indian cricket captain Dhoni and pace bowler Zaheer Khan adopted a tiger each recently in the Mysore Zoo.

Visitors can adopt animals at Bhopal's Van Vihar National Park. A board is put outside the enclosure with the name of the sponsor. (Photo: IANS) 

Now more wildlife lovers are emulating them. At Van Vihar Park, some of them are adopting the animals with their first salary or on their birthdays or marriage anniversaries.

It was in January 2009 that Van Vihar launched a scheme for the public to adopt zoo animals and thus help the park provide the best facilities to its animal population. Under the scheme, tiger, lion, panther, bear, crocodile and python among other animals have found new "guardians".

The person or the organisation adopting an animal will only have to bear the expenses of its feeding and upkeep on annual, half yearly or monthly basis.

"While studying law, when I got my first salary from the intern works, I decided to adopt a python. I had adopted it for a month. I could not do it for a second month as someone else had already adopted it," said Abhinita Das Gupta. "But, in this short time, the python become my friend and I always visit Van Vihar to meet him," she adds.

                The Price Tag

Following are the annual rates of adoption of animals at Van Vihar.

Lion - For adopting a lion, one will have to pay Rs.125,000 annually.

Tiger - Rs.110,000

Leopard - Rs.50,000

Bear - Rs.65,000

Hyena - Rs.30,000

Jackal - Rs.25,000

Alligator - Rs.40,000

Crocodile - Rs.30,000 

For Gulrej Ahmad, who adopted a tigress, Era, in January 2009, for three months, the relation with his adopted tigress has become very strong.

"When I was visiting Van Vihar, I saw Era and decided to adopt her. It died later and the news shocked me. I still go there often to visit the cage where Era used to live," Ahmad said.

Anil Kumar, a resident of Kolhapur in Maharashtra, whose in-laws lived in Bhopal, adopted a crocodile on the day his son was born on Feb 25, 2009.

Van Vihar's scheme has raised the awareness about supporting wildlife. The novelty of the adoption scheme has caught the fancy of animal lovers.

"Since the scheme was launched several people have adopted wildlife animals in Van Vihar. And now as news comes about celebrities doing it, more people would come forward," said J.S. Chouhan, director of the Van Vihar National Park. - IANS

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