As finances dip, Lucknow zoo sends SOS to animal lovers

Lucknow, Aug 19 (IANS) With less than one per cent of visitors coming to the Nawab Wajid Ali Shah Zoological Garden, popularly known as Lucknow Zoo, the zoo is facing a severe financial crunch.

Zoo Director R.K. Singh has now posted an open letter to all animal lovers on social media, asking them to support the animal adoption scheme and help the zoo survive.

The zoo is pinning its hopes on corporates and even individuals to come forward and adopt its animals as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.

“To continue appropriate feed to animals, security and cleanliness of the campus and to maintain the greenery, flow of funds is indispensable. Due to lockdown, the zoo income has come to a standstill. At present, barely one per cent visitors of previous years are visiting the zoo. We desperately need at least Rs one crore per month to run our zoo,” Singh said in the letter.

He has also attached a list of animals available for adoption. The zoo is presently home to 1,000 animals of 100 species.

Singh said, “Being a trust, the zoo largely depends on the entrance fee. The average number of visitors per year is around 16 lakh. However, first due to anti-CAA protests and later, because of Covid-19, there has been very less footfall this year. Unlike previous years, when around 8,000 visitors used to throng the zoo per day, we now receive about 100 visitors in a day. Since most of the food for animals is met through ticket sales, it is difficult for us to survive in these conditions.”

He said that the zoo is left with funds that will last only three to four weeks. Meanwhile, the adoption rates vary for various animals.

For instance, a tiger or white tiger can be adopted for Rs 6.75 lakh per annum, leopard and panther for Rs 1.7 lakh each, hoolock gibbon for Rs 32,500 and white peacock for just Rs 3,200. The budgerigar bird can be adopted for as less as Rs 200 per year.

The scheme will also benefit patrons in the form of Income Tax rebate under 80G. The name and address of adopters will be displayed at enclosures.

The Lucknow Zoo, spread over 71 acres, is managed by a trust — the Zoo Advisory Committee — with Forest Secretary to the Government of Uttar Pradesh as Chairman, state Principal Chief Conservator of Forests as Vice Chairman and state Chief Wildlife Warden as Administrator.

An officer of the rank of Deputy Conservator of Forests is posted as the Director for overall day-to-day management of the zoo.



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