By Ananya Dutta
PUNE: The adoption of elephants, as part of the Katraj zoo adoption scheme, contributed to a major chunk of the money raised through this scheme last year. The zoo raised Rs 5.55 lakh in 2013 - the second highest amount collected since the scheme's launch in 2010.
"Last year, we raised nearly double of what we raised in 2012, which was Rs 2.9 lakhs" said Suresh Jagtap, director of the Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park and Wildlife Research Centre
Jagtap said 2013 was the first time that elephants were adopted at the zoo and it managed to raise a lot of funds. "It costs Rs 45,000 a month to care for an elephant and last year, the elephants were adopted several times," he said.
"Another tactic that helped raise more funds was the scheme that allowed people to adopt an animal for a single day. There were 14 such adoptions that raised Rs 10,655 in all," Jagtap added.
The only year that the zoo raised more funds than 2013 was the year the scheme was launched, when it raised Rs 8.14 lakhs. The reason the amount was so large was that the zoo's tigers, which are very expensive to maintain, were adopted for several months.
"People seem to be really warming up to the adoption scheme. We had 26 adoptions in all last year, but we are still lagging behind in corporate adoptions. Most of the adoptions are still taken up by individuals," Jagtap said.