Following the recent suggestion of Union environment and forest minister, Harsh Vardhan, the National Zoological Park in New Delhi will soon launch an animal adoption scheme for its inmates.
Several zoos across the country have already launched the scheme, where a person or a corporate firm can adopt an animal.
“We are exploring various options to start an animal adoption scheme at the Delhi Zoo. We would launch the scheme once we finalise the modalities,” Renu Singh, director of the National Zoological Park, said.
Under the scheme, a citizen can choose an animal and ‘adopt’ it after paying a fixed sum by the zoo authorities. The money is spent by the zoo to buy food, medicines and to meet other expenses of the animal.
In return, the person’s name is displayed on the cage, and he gets certain facilities like free entry to the zoo for a year. He also gets an adoption certificate. Moreover, the adopter can celebrate birthdays of the animals in the zoo. Also, he gets an exemption from Income-Tax under section 80 (G) of the Income-Tax Act in some cases.
As per sources, the scheme is open for all the animals, but usually, it is for large animals like tigers, lions and elephants, which require maximum expenditure. The cost of adopting a tiger is in lakhs for a year, whereas birds cost the minimum.
“There is a difference between the Delhi Zoo and other zoos in the country. While the Delhi Zoo is the only zoo in the country which is directly run by the Union ministry, others are managed by the respective state governments. Most of the other zoos which have launched adoption schemes are registered societies and can accept money in the adoption scheme. We can’t,” Singh said.
The zoo authorities are studying the adoption schemes launched by various Indian and foreign zoos to find a way in which it could launch a scheme.
“It won’t be like other zoos as we can’t accept money directly. For that, we have to register the zoo as a society which would be a long and cumbersome process. So we are planning it differently and that is why we are exploring options,” she added.
Such schemes are already running in many zoos across the country like the Lucknow Zoo, Patna Zoo, Alipore Zoo in Kolkata, Mysore Zoo and Nandankanan in Odisha.
“Even though the contribution we receive is just a token amount of what we spend against each animal, the main objective is the bond that citizens develop with the animals and the people’s participation,” said a senior official of the Alipore Zoo in Kolkata.
The Delhi Zoo will also very soon start the process of celebrating birthdays of its inmates.