Faced with a financial crunch due to a lack of footfall owing to COVID-triggered lockdown, the Bengaluru zoo is reaching out to people to adopt and name animals and offer donations to raise resources. The Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP) issued the appeal hoping to raise funds to support the animals at the zoo.
"COVID-19 pandemic has caused problems for zoos where the footfall has come down drastically, which has impacted revenue", said Chief Conservator of Forests, Bengaluru, and Incharge Executive Director of BBP, R Gokul. "In spite of this, the zoo was taking care of 2,388 animals belonging to 102 different species," he said. "So we request citizens and organisations to adopt animals and to contribute towards their partial cost of feed and veterinary care", Gokul said. The adopted animals will continue to be in the zoo with the contributions going towards their upkeep.
Closure of zoos has meant no revenue coming in and these zoos, especially the bigger ones like the Mysuru Zoo and BBP, need around Rs 15 lakh to Rs 20 lakh for their maintenance everyday. The annual maintenance of the zoos comes up to Rs 60 crore, The Hindu reported.
A video featuring actor Darshan Thoogudeepa which carried an appeal to support the zoos in the state received a strong response and Rs 43 lakh donation was raised in two days. Of this, Rs 13 lakh was given to BBP.
The BBP zoo has four different units - Zoo, Safari, Butterfly Park and Rescue Centre within an area of 731.88 hectares. BBP is a self-sustained organisation run only by gate revenue; it has also adopted a few mini zoos of Karnataka. BBP is also providing an opportunity to name young animals.
Watch Darshan's appeal. Click here to adopt or feed.
Some of the recently-born animals available for adoption and naming are: Lioness Sania's one male and three female cubs, Hippopotamus Ashya's male calf, Spectacled Langur Reshmi's female infant, Hanuman Langur Adithi's infant and Grey Wolf Akira's two male pups.
Citizens can also contribute towards one day feeding cost of some of the zoo residents, Gokul said. Daily feeding cost of an Asian Elephant, for example, works out to Rs 3,000 a day and the zoo has 25 of them. One can also adopt animals for costs varying from Rs 2,000 ro Rs 1,75,000. Check tariffs here.
There is a provision for income tax rebate under 80G for animal adoption/donation, it was noted. The BBP had also launched an animal adoption programme during the COVID-19-induced lockdown last year.
"As many as 260 animals were adopted by 213 people in the financial year 2020-21 and a sum of Rs 34,94,750 has been raised through this initiative," a BBP official told PTI.