Deers, peacocks, doves, monkeys and black swans are among the most preferred for adoption at the Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park while there are few takers for tigers, lions and leopards.
Since the animal adoption scheme began in 2012, a total of 92 animals have been adopted by people at the Chhatbir zoo.
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Jasdeep Kaur, a student who is preparing for entrance exam for bank recruitment, has adopted a cobra. “Since childhood I have been fascinated by animals, especially reptiles. I saved some pocket money and I persuaded the zoo authorities to let me adopt a cobra. I would encourage other people to go for adoption so that the gap between wild animals and mankind can be bridged for good.”
Once she settles down, Kaur says, and starts to earn, she will adopt bigger animals. She paid Rs 3,600 for one- year of the cobra adoption.
In its endeavour to celebrate the “Wildlife Week”, Chhatbir Zoo has opened its doors for people, encouraging them to contribute for upkeep of an animal in the zoo. The event which began on Monday will go on till October 8. During this week, entry to the zoo is free of cost. The zoo authorities are also going to educate the visitors about the animals, encouraging them to adopt animals at the zoo.
The theme of the Wildlife Week is “Members Matter” in which the authorities want to gather maximum number of people for adoption of animals. “The theme of the wildlife week has been decided to boost animal adoption amongst people. We are not asking for big adoptions; our point is to involve people. Any kind of adoption contribution from their side will be appreciated,” says Manish Kumar, field director, Chhatbir Zoo.
Anshu Sharma, a senior lecturer in Electrical Engineering at Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology, has adopted a langur for a period of five months. “I love animals and have always been curious about the way langurs behave. So I thought of adopting one to get to know more about the species,” she says. She paid Rs 580 for five months.
Apart from individuals, various schools have also been adopting animals regularly. St John’s School, Sector 26, and St Stephen’s School, Sector 45, have recently adopted animals at the zoo.
While St John’s has collected more than Rs 2 lakh for adoption of various animals including leopard cub, tortoise, kalij pheasant, eagle, black swan, Asiatic black bear, and spotted deer. St Stephen’s School had adopted a gharial for one month.
The big cats are usually adopted for a duration of one or two months as they cost between Rs 5,000 and Rs 12,000. Deer, peacocks, doves, monkeys and other animals cost anywhere between Rs 600 and Rs 1,000 per month. Zoo authorities state that due to the high cost involved in adoption of the bigger animals, these find few takers.