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Sponsor bias: Law of selective adoption at Katraj Zoo

An elephant costs Rs 45,000 a month to be sponsored at Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park (Katraj).

An elephant costs Rs 45,000 a month to be sponsored at Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park (Katraj). Sponsoring a tiger costs 15,000 a month and a leopard marginally lower.

While there is a waiting list of people,institutions and organisations willing to sponsor tigers,leopards and elephants,animals like crocodiles,sambar,jackal,barking deer,blackbuck,monkeys,porcupines,neelgai (antelope) and Indian gaur have not been sponsored even once,ever since ‘adopt an animal’ was floated by the zoo in October 2010.

“There is no specific reason for some animals not getting adopted. Probably they don’t fall under the category of ‘favourite animal’ of the public. It’s surprising because their maintenance fee isn’t high. In fact,it is much lesser than what people pay to adopt animals such as tiger or elephant,” says Ashwini Shitole,education officer,Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park.

She cites the example of female elephant Janaki,recently adopted by one Prasad Joshi Guruji,a resident Gokhalenagar. “Adoption fee is highest for an elephant,Rs 45,000 per month,” says Shitole,adding that Janaki has a waiting list of people eager to adopt her,which even includes people from Indapur and Phaltan.

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Even tiger that costs Rs 15,000 per month for maintenance and care has been adopted as many as 17 times by different people. Leopard seems to equally popular and has been adopted 17 times so far.

Some animals can be adopted individually and some in groups. The monthly maintenance fee for some animals that are yet to be adopted is,Rs 5,000 for a group of crocodiles,Rs 8,000 for a group of jackals,Rs 5,000 for a group of porcupines,Rs 8,000 for a group of monkeys,Rs 8,000 for a group of barking deer,Rs 15,000 for a group of Indian gaur and Rs 25,000 for neelgai. “We wonder why people haven’t come forward for any of these animals. Through our regular workshops on wildlife awareness,we educate people on our adoption programme,” she says.

Workshops have worked in some cases pushing students of schools and colleges like Pawar Public School (Hadapsar),Sanskriti School (Maval) and Ness Wadia College to adopt a few animals at the zoo. While snakes and tortoises have been adopted 6 times each,sloth bears and peacocks were adopted 5 and 4 times respectively.

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Altogether the animals have been adopted 61 times. The total revenue generated from the scheme is Rs 16,24,000.

There are 377 animals at the zoo,which includes 19 species of mammals,15 species of aves (birds) and 29 species of reptiles.

First published on: 12-06-2013 at 03:13 IST
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