Agartala: The Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary and Zoo, located in western Tripura’s Sepahijala district, has put up a unique initiative to make people participate in the conservation of wildlife, especially the endangered, by adopting some of its animals.
Any institution or individual can now adopt an animal by paying between Rs 5,020 and Rs 2,81,000 for its upkeep at the zoo.
The animals listed for adoption are lion, crocodile, clouded leopard, Himalayan black bear, binturong, hornbill, peacock, common leopard, hillock gibbon, slow loris, pig-tailed macaque, pelican, capped langur, spectacular langur, leopard cat and even a vulture.
The idea is not novel, having been tried elsewhere in the country, but new in Tripura. Atul Kumar Gupta, who is Tripura’s principal chief conservator of forests, said, “In return, the zoo and sanctuary authorities would offer certificates of adoption, complimentary passes to visit the zoo, publication of names in leading newspapers, besides income-tax exemptions on the amount contributed.”
The name of individual and the institutions would also be displayed at the enclosure of the adopted animal.
“We are trying to replicate the model of people’s participation in wildlife management followed in Mysore, Lucknow and Hyderabad zoos,” added Gupta.
Former Tripura minister Jawahar Saha’s daughter Mahashweta Saha and an associate professor (Zoology) of state-run Ramthakur College Sharmistha Banerjee have already adopted a python and a peacock (peafowl), respectively.
“My daughter Mahashweta always loved animals and environment,” said the former minister.