The Telegraph
Saturday , November 17 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Nod for better use of zoo funds

Nov. 16: The state forest department has given its nod to the state zoo’s proposal of keeping the entry fee collections with itself to garner additional resources for its development. Earlier, the entry fees were deposited with the government.

“We have given the nod to the proposal and drafted a memorandum of understanding. We are hopeful that the proposal will be accepted soon,” chief wildlife warden, Suresh Chand, told The Telegraph. “Even if we get 70 percent of the money, it would be of immense help,” he said. The zoo gets an average of Rs 75 lakh yearly from entry fees.

Sources said the proposal would have to be approved by the finance department because if the proposal were implemented, revenue would be going away from the government. It is at this stage that a lot of time is taken, they added.

The zoo will have to invest in new infrastructure owing to the new masterplan, which will soon come into effect, for which huge funds are required.

The authorities are looking to maximise their revenues and have proposed to raise the entry fees to Rs 20 from the present Rs 10.

A zoo official said a society would be formed to administer the funds collected from the entry fees and make rules on the way the money should be used.

According to the guidelines made by the ministry of environment and forests on mobilising financial support for supplementing management of zoos, fund raising is an integral part to make them self-sustaining and financially sound, as government rules do not encourage active fund-raising events like in foreign zoos.

The guidelines also state that zoos should be allowed to spend their revenue generated from ticketing.

“Considering the restriction imposed in financial rules of the government, if needed, it is advised that the zoos may have a registered charitable society/foundation for receiving the funds from people and corporate sector for better management. Many states have created zoo authorities to plough back the revenue generated in terms of entry fees for better management. The states who do not have state zoo authorities may constitute the same for the purpose of fund raising and its utilisation,” it said.

Each zoo should also carry out strength, weakness, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis and develop a financial business model based on its core strength and enter into a dialogue with corporate and private individuals to support the zoos for conservation.

The zoo authorities would have to decide the marketing module best suited to their strengths, according to the guidelines.