Junglii, which is touted to be India’s first exotic petting zone, is under scanner after the Animal Welfare Board in India (AWBI) had directed the Wildlife Crime Bureau and Tamil Nadu Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services Department to investigate the place and submit an action-taken report immediately to take further course of action based on the complaint that the animals are not properly handled.
The order comes following the complaint of Antony Rubin, an animal activist, who wrote a letter to S K Dutta, secretary, AWBI, on June 21 asking whether the place is registered under the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules, 2001 and whether they have received a clearance from Performing Animals Sub Committee (PASC ) as Junglii exhibits animals after collecting tickets from the visitors.
Junglii, located near Injambakkam on the East Coast Road in Chennai, has packages such as Petting Zone, Farm Friends, Reptile Crush, VIP and VVIP with separate tariffs ranging from Rs 399 to Rs 1,999.
In his complaint, Antony had noted that the premises have a wide list of different species of exotic animals ranging from dogs, cats, hedgehogs, rabbits, snakes, different types of birds etc.
Antony claimed he paid Rs 3,097 for three people and a mobile camera to see the place. “Some of the animals look so stressed and the reptiles (including snakes) were given to multiple people for handling in a day,” he wrote.
The activist urged the authorities to inspect the facility and find out the condition of the animals.
Speaking to IE.com, he said “This place has lots of exotic animals. They exhibit all these animals for a ticketing rate. Most of the animals are stressed because every person is given the animal and not everyone handles them carefully. There are high chances of visitors dropping them. I am not sure whether they had PASC clearance. Hence I had filed a complaint and AWBI has taken the matter to the authorities concerned. Today, (Wednesday), I’m informed that the joint-director of animal husbandry department, Kancheepuram, would be visiting the place for an inspection,” he said
Junglii authorities were not reachable for a comment.