Several animals and birds at the Alipore Zoological Garden have become orphans as the majority of people, who had adopted them, failed renew their contacts with the zoo authorities.
It has been observed that only 10 out of 40 people have renewed their contacts in 2016, as a result of which many of these animals have lost their patronage. The system of animal adoption was started at Alipore zoo in September 2013 to create awareness. Many people have come forward and adopted animals. Agreements were signed between the zoo authorities and those who adopted the animals. There were some terms and conditions that both the parties had to adhere to. A certificate and group pass were issued to the patrons adopting the animals. The group pass allows the entry of the patron adopting the animal and his/her three associates so that they can see the animal adopted by them.
Former director of Alipore zoo Dr KL Ghosh during whose time the adoption process started said that there was some awareness programme which attracted several people to adopt animals.
The names of those people who were adopting the animals were featured on placards and festoons that were put up inside the zoo premises for one year from the day they enter into an agreement.
This would have attracted many other visitors to come forward making a pledge of adopting animals. In the next year, more than half of these people did not renew their agreements.
“We have started the animal adoption system for those who love animals. Many people came forward but gradually there had been a decline in the number of people renewing their contacts. Adoption was open for corporate companies, businessmen, servicemen, students and elderly people. We distributed leaflets to create awareness. Even the banners that were put up inside the zoo attracted the visitors,” said Ghosh.
People have to pay the zoo authorities around Rs 2 lakh if they want to adopt a tiger or a lion or a rhino, while in case of a giraffe or zebra the rate stands at around Rs 50,000 every year. Various birds were also in the list of adoption.
The Alipore Zoo authorities have said that people adopt animals out of their love but recently there has been a decline in the number of people coming forward with the pledge of adopting animals. A senior zoo official said that the highest amount collected from the adoptions was around Rs 25 lakh in a year, whereas the zoo earns around Rs 6 crore yearly by selling tickets and also gets a fund of Rs 4-5 crore from the state government. So if the contacts are not renewed, it would hardly affect any animal.
Director of Alipore Zoo AK Samanta said, “If people do not renew their contacts it does not affect the wellbeing of the animals as the zoo authorities have their own funds to look after these animals. Had they been renewed the contacts the amount could have been used for the development of the zoo.”