Hyderabad: Interested in adopting a Royal Bengal Tiger from the Nehru Zoological Park? How about a lion or a leopard? This Covid-19 crisis could be the right time for these animals and their caretakers are in dire need of help.
This is after the pandemic cast its shadow on the revenue of the zoo as well. The zoo, popular among both tourists and the city’s people alike, has been closed for more than three months now, robbing it of its only source of revenue. To tide over the crisis, the zoo authorities are now hoping that celebrities and businessmen come forward and ‘adopt’ the animals, by sponsoring their expenses for a fixed period.
Spread over 300 acres and home to nearly 181 indigenous and exotic species, including 1,716 animals, birds, and reptiles, the zoo is known to be one of the best zoos in Asia and attracts around 30 lakh visitors annually.
With the pandemic forcing the closing of its gates to the public, maintenance and payment of salaries to animal caretakers has become a challenging task.
“The money for food for animals is provided by the government. But still, the animal caretakers and other staff here have to come every day to take care of the animals and premises. So we have to pay them salaries,” said N Kshitija, Curator, Nehru Zoological Park.
The zoo is encouraging people to come forward and adopt animals for a period of one year in hope of arranging funds for running its activities smoothly.
“So far we utilized some funds that were available with us for providing fodder and salaries to workers. If people come forward and adopt animals, it will be of big help,” she said, adding that in certain cases, they were open to relaxing the one year adoption period to a few months.
“In some instances children came along with their parents and wanted to adopt an animal. So to encourage them, we do relaxe the rule to a three or six month period,” Kshitija said.
An official said that in a few other cities across the country, several film stars, cricketers and businessmen came forward and donated money to zoos during the lockdown. However, no one has come forward with such help here.
The zoo has several animals for adoption including elephant, tigers, leopards, white tigers, lions, deer, giraffe, monkeys, snakes and a variety of birds.
In response to the report ‘Covid pushes zoo into crisis’ that appeared in these columns on Saturday, the Nehru Zoological Park curator N Kshitija said, “the zoo is not facing any financial crisis and is receiving funds for feed from the government from time to time.” The animal adoption scheme was introduced to give a sense of belonging to people, she added.
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