Basanti’s boy poses for the camera at Tata zoo, Jamshedpur, on Sunday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
What’s in a name, asks Shakespeare. Loads of fun and a feline friend, says ninth grader Sonia.
Come October, the Jamshedpur teenager and more than 1,000 students from 135-odd Kolhan schools will get the opportunity of a lifetime to name three leopard cubs at Tata Steel Zoological Park.
Unlike last year — when the zoo authorities had initiated a prolonged campaign for citizens to christen its royal guests from Africa and a home-bred tiger cub — this time the naming ceremony will happen on the spot on October 7, the last day of World Wildlife Week.
The tentative process of selection will be a lucky draw. Schoolchildren will write names on chits of paper and drop them into three bowls, while guests will pick one from each.
Zoo director Bipul Chakrabarty said the objective was to make the animal planet interactive fun for schoolchildren. “We organise many a event such as sit-and-draw and quiz during the wildlife week. The naming of the three cubs — all are boys — will be a different experience,” he added.
Tata zoo is inviting almost all schools of East Singhbhum, West Singhbhum and Seraikela-Kharsawan. Of the 135 cradles, invites have already been sent out to 47. Participants from the steel city will include Loyola School, Sacred Heart Convent School, Narbheram Hansraj English School, Kerala Public Schools (KPS) and Kerala Samajam Model Schools.
Chakrabarty said two of the three cubs were born to leopard couple Ved and Sheeba on May 5, while the other is Basanti’s love child with Ved, born on April 4. The leopardess had also given birth to a female cub, but it did not survive.
Sonia Das, a student of KPS-Kadma, said for many children, whose parent don’t allow them to keep pets, this would be a wish come true.
“It is simply great to name your zoo favourite. The naming ceremony is not just fun, but it will create a bond. You will feel proud, when people or zoo caretakers call the cubs by names given by you. I would like to call one of the cubs Stanley. Let’s see if I get lucky,” said the youngster.
The last day of the wildlife week will also see a sit-and-draw competition, which is a part of a fund-raising campaign to implement a master plan for revamp of the zoo.