Director AK Patra shows the new adoption brochure at Birsa zoo on Wednesday. Picture by Prashant Mitra
Exotic is now exorbitant in Ranchi’s zoo lexicon.
To buffer inflation and cushion the falling rupee, the authorities at Bhagwan Birsa Biological Park in Ormanjhi have augmented animal adoption charges by up to 50 per cent and is making endeavours to rope in the altruistic ilk of Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Priyanka Chopra as foster parents.
While the Team India skipper is known to have adopted a tiger at Mysore zoo two years ago and recently gave home to stray pup in Ranchi, the big-hearted Don girl parented a tiger and a lion at Birsa zoo in 2011 and 2012.
Zoo director A.K. Patra conceded that they had to jack up adoption rates to meet labour and animal feed costs. “Earlier, unskilled workers could be hired for Rs 145. Now, the rate is Rs 160. Skilled labour costs have risen from Rs 192.08 to Rs 199.09. We had no choice,” he said.
That the zoo is, finally, taking animal adoption seriously is clear from the fact that it has released a brochure and rate card for the first time since the programme was launched two years ago.
“Our four-page brochure has details of species up for adoption, their rates and the time period for which they can be fostered,” Patra said.
According to the brochure, 16 species — mostly protected animals such as tiger, lion, leopard, black bear, hippo and jungle cat — are up for adoption .
“One can parent an animal for a maximum of five years. In most categories, rates have been hiked between 15-20 per cent. In some cases, the hike is higher. For example, to adopt a tiger or a lion for a year, one now has to shell out Rs 2.95 lakh instead of the earlier Rs 2 lakh. On the other extreme, the leopard adoption rate has gone up by only 10 per cent to Rs 97,000,” explained the director.
Besides rates, the biological park has also revised its adoption benefits.
“Earlier, only income tax rebate was given. Now, we have included perks such as preferential treatment in allotment of our guesthouse, 12 free entry coupons for adoption over Rs 1 lakh and six coupons in case of Rs 50,000. For students below 12 years, 10 entry passes will be given free for every year of adoption. All foster parents will also be allowed exclusive audience with their animals,” Patra said.
Since its launch, the adoption programme at Birsa zoo hasn’t had many takers. It hogged limelight when Bollywood beauty Priyanka adopted two animals in consecutive years. Besides the actress, foster parents included Sports Authority of India, Mecon and two individuals.
The zoo director said Priyanka’s adoption period of lioness Durga ended this July and they had sent fresh reminders to her office in Mumbai and grandparents in Jamshedpur. “We are also in talks with Dhoni, an animal lover,” the zoo chief said. The Indian captain left for Mumbai on a personal tour on Tuesday, but is expected to visit Ranchi on August 15.
Many PSUs are said to have evinced interest as well. “They want formal rate cards and other details, which we have now,” Patra said.
Will you be discouraged by the new adoption rate?