July 28, 2021 7:40:12 pm
TO INVOLVE more people in the conservation of wildlife, the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) has invited citizens, corporates and institutions to adopt 25 animals, including lions, tigers, and leopards, housed in captivity at the park for one year upon paying an adoption fee.
The adoption scheme, which aims to attract more visitors to the park and make them more aware of the wild animals, allows the adopters to visit the adoptee animal once a week without paying any special fees.
Under the scheme, a tiger can be adopted for Rs 3.10 lakh, lion for Rs 3 lakh, leopard for Rs 1.20 lakh, rusty-spotted cat for Rs 50,000, Blue Bull for Rs 30,000, spotted deer for Rs 20,000 and barking deer for Rs 10,000 for one year. The money thus obtained is used for the upkeep of the animals.
Till last year, only 20 animals had been adopted under the scheme at a total cost of Rs 16.6 lakh annually.
Lions and tigers held in captivity are a prime attraction at SGNP’s wildlife safari. According to SGNP officials, the big cats were brought to the park from places such as Bannerghatta National Park and Pench Tiger Reserve. But the leopards, held in captivity, are largely the ones trapped in and around Mumbai during the height of the human-leopard conflict between 2003 and 2005. These leopards have been in captivity due to their serious injuries and old age. Recently, some tigers and leopard cubs were also brought in from the Nagpur Rescue Centre.
The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) had approved the scheme in 2013 as a viable option to provide financial assistance to rescue centres and zoological parks in the country and create more awareness among the public for the conservation of captive animals.
Some of the high-profile adoptive individuals are state Environment and Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray and his brother Tejas, Union Minister Ramdas Athawale, actor Raveena Tandon, and former cricketer Sandeep Patil, among others.
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