The National Zoological Park (Delhi Zoo) has launched an animal adoption scheme allowing people to sign up to pay for the care of animals at the facility. Zoo director Dharam Deo Rai said that the scheme is being introduced for the first time at the zoo and is meant “to encourage the participation of people in wildlife conservation”.
On adoption, the animal’s enclosure at the zoo will feature the name of the person who adopted it. The adopter will be given an ‘adoption membership card’ and allowed to enter the zoo during visiting hours once every month on showing the card.
The zoo has around 1,100 animals – mammals, birds, reptiles – of around 92 species. Big cats, birds, snakes, bears, deer, elephants, star tortoises and striped hyena are among the animals that are likely to be up for adoption. Other zoos in the country, like the Nandankanan zoo in Odisha, have similar adoption schemes.
The rate to be paid for adoption per year varies depending on the species and is still to be approved. It can range from Rs 700 per year for birds like budgerigar to Rs 6,00,000 for lions, tigers, rhinos and elephants. Leopards are also likely to be up for adoption at a cost of around Rs 3,60,000 per year.
For sambar deer, swamp deer or the great hornbill, adoption is likely to cost around Rs 40,000 per year. Other adoptions are of the Indian wolf at Rs 1,80,000 per year and the Indian bison or gaur at Rs 2,25,000 per year.
The adoption of zoo animals will be for one or two years, according to a document released by the zoo authorities. Adoption can be withdrawn but without a refund of payment, it said.
According to the document, the revenue generated through the animal adoption scheme may return back to the zoo on a quarterly basis for the welfare activities of its animals and personnel.
“The contribution would assist in improving the existing overall facilities for the animals and ultimately for their better care and conservation in the zoos,” it added.
Delhi Zoo is operated by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.