Now, adopt a crocodile or a tiger in Tripura zoo

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Now you can adopt a crocodile or a tiger in Tripura zoo

Agartala: Ever thought of adopting a tiger, a rhino or a crocodile? Here's your chance to do that at a Tripura wildlife sanctuary and zoo.

Anyone can adopt a wild animal by paying for its upkeep under a scheme to make people participate in the conservation of wildlife, specially the endangered, at the Sepahijala wildlife sanctuary and zoo, located 25 km south of state capital Agartala.

"Interested people and institutions may adopt an animal of their choice by contributing amounts ranging from Rs.5,020 to Rs.2,81,000 per year for its upkeep," said Tripura's Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Atul Kumar Gupta.

The idea is not novel, having been tried elsewhere in the country, but new in Tripura.

Gupta, who is also the chief wildlife warden, told IANS: "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.

Animals listed for adoption include the Royal Bengal tiger, lion, clouded leopard, rhinoceros, Himalayan black bear, hornbill, peacock, crocodile, leopard, hoolock gibbon, slow loris, pig-tailed macaque, pelican, capped langur, leopard cat, and even a vulture.

"We are trying to replicate the model of people's participation in wildlife management followed in Mysore, Lucknow and Hyderabad zoos," said Gupta.

Gupta, a senior Indian Forest Service officer, said the money collected through this adoption process would be spent on the upkeep and feeding of the animals.

"Adoption of an animal is noble not only for an individual alone but for his family too. An adoption may make a great gift for birthdays, anniversaries for near and dear ones and is always unique. This shows one's concern towards conservation of animals."

Krishna Gopal Roy, another wildlife official, said that so far state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and an engineering student Mahashweta Saha, 23, have adopted a Royal Bengal Tiger and a python respectively for six months.

Another businessman adopted a Himalayan black bear for six months.

"My daughter Mahashweta always loved animals and environment," former Tripura minister Jawahar Saha told IANS.

Roy said that "Sepahijala wildlife sanctuary and zoo is the only centre in eastern and northeastern India where adoption of animals has already started".

The Sepahijala zoo, set up in 1972 within the sanctuary, is home to 655 animals belonging to 55 different species.

According to the adoption rules, the animals cannot be taken home.

This is perhaps the only zoo in India located in the middle of a sanctuary. A portion of the sanctuary was declared the clouded leopard national park.

"India altogether has very few clouded leopards, of which Sepahijala has 16," a wildlife official said.

The Tripura government has finalised an ambitious master plan for the development of the Sepahijala wildlife sanctuary and zoo.

"After the implementation of the master plan, for which financial assistance has been sought from the union forest and environment ministry, the Sepahijala zoo and wildlife sanctuary will be one of India's best maintained zoo-cum-sanctuaries," Tripura Forest Minister Jitendra Chowdhury told IANS.

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