Animal adoptions increase in the Visakhapatnam Zoo

Animal adoptions increase in the Visakhapatnam Zoo

Indira Gandhi Zoological Park’s Online Animal Adoption Program Has Brought Some Cheer For The Zoo Even As It Fights Funding Crisis

Indira Gandhi Zoological Park’s online animal adoption program has brought some cheer to the zoo even as it fights the funding crisis

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, zoos across India have faced a severe funding crisis and difficult times to meet the needs of animals. The Indira Gandhi Zoological Park, for example, requires nearly ₹ 2 crore per year for animal feeding and maintenance. While the past two years have been extremely busy for the zoo with periodic closures and a decline in visitor influx, the buzz around the zoo’s online animal adoption program introduced a year ago has brought some cheer.

The zoo has been running an animal adoption program since 2011, but now anyone can adopt an animal at the click of a button. People can now adopt a pet for a year or even a day to take care of its maintenance costs. The online adoption facility saw an encouraging response in a short time. While the total number of adopters from 2016-17 is 295, around 111 of them are from 2021-22 alone. Interestingly, 82 adoptions took place through the online space. “Animal adoption plays an important role in supporting the zoo in caring for the animals, preserving wildlife conservation and supporting educational programs,” says Nandani Salaria, curator of Indira Gandhi Zoological Park.

Newborn Black Swans Relaxing in the Pool with Adults at Indira Gandhi Zoological Park | Photo credit: KR Deepak

Depending on the amount, the adopters are classified into different groups. Once the animal has been adopted, an email or a confirmation message is sent. Donors who donate between ₹ 10,000 and ₹ 30,000 get free admission to the zoo for five people twice a year. They also receive an adoption certificate and receive regular updates on how the animal is doing. Adopters who pay more than ₹ 30,000 will have their names engraved on the animal’s enclosure along with a t-shirt, cap, and free zoo entry for five people.

Students explain their mini zoo model at Indira Gandhi Zoological Park

Students explaining their mini zoo model at Indira Gandhi Zoological Park | Photo credit: KR Deepak

Corporate social responsibility

Companies have begun to approach the idea of ​​adopting animals as part of their corporate social responsibility scheme. Recently, Gangavaram Port Limited adopted several animals in the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park for a period of one year. Animals include elephant, lion, tiger, chimpanzee, macaw, star tortoise, and Indian wolf. The zoo’s only one-horned rhino, Nakul, has finally found an adopter after Indian Oil Corporation Limited adopted him for a three-year period as part of its corporate environmental responsibility initiative earlier this year. . The zoo has also been active in promoting the facility through its social media and through colorful zoo banners. “We put up a large banner near the Sagarnagar gate and also at the Bioscope inside the zoo about adopting animals. We are reaching out to various organizations to engage the public to spread the word about animal adoption, “adds the curator.

The elephant has the most expensive annual adoption rate and costs ₹ 4.3 lakh per year. According to zoo officials, the figure was calculated about a decade ago when the adoption program was launched. While the cost of keeping the animals nearly doubled, the figure has remained the same as the zoo tries to encourage more adopters to come forward for the program. “Animal lovers are mostly interested in monthly adoptions. Some of them are adopting animals for up to a year, ”adds Nandani.

A pair of giraffes eating leaves in their enclosure at Indira Gandhi Zoological Park

A pair of giraffes eating leaves in their enclosure at Indira Gandhi Zoological Park | Photo credit: KR Deepak

Birds are a favorite

Although avian species remain a favorite among adopters, some of them have come forward to break traditional myths associated with certain animal species by adopting them. Greenwaves Environmental Solutions adopted a barn owl for a year recently. Owls in general are nocturnal predators and prey on smaller birds, mammals, and rodents. But they are also threatened by superstitious practices such as black magic, in which parts of their body are used. “Barn owls are used to living close to human habitats. Sometimes they are seen nesting in old attics, abandoned buildings and barns or even between apartments. Lack of knowledge of how harmless they are has led to the destruction of their habitats. More outreach programs need to be done to make people understand that these beautiful creatures have a valuable role to play in the ecosystem. What better place than a zoo to educate people about these wonderful species, ”says Aditya Madhav of Greenwaves Environmental Solutions.

A barn owl

A barn owl | Photo credit: KR Deepak

There are some who come forward for adoption after the loss of their pet. “In one case, a couple wanted to adopt a canine animal, particularly after their dog’s death. They adopted a wild dog for a year, ”Nandani says. The birds remain a crowd favorite as their annual adoption ranges from ₹ 1,000 to ₹ 10,000. The daily adoption amount for some birds is as little as ₹ 100.

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