Owls up for adoption

All for money



In an attempt to earn some additional money, the authorities of the Kanpur Zoo have launched a unique owl adoption scheme under which any person can adopt an owl provided he is ready to shell out Rs 10,000 annually.

The zoo officials, however, maintain for the record that the scheme has been launched for the benefit of the people, who can now “please” goddess Lakshmi by adopting her vehicle. Kanpur Zoological Garden Director K Praveen Rao says that the scheme offers an opportunity to the people to please the goddess throughout the year rather than only on the day of Deepavali.

The names of the persons, who adopt the owls, will be displayed on the enclosure of the owls, Rao said.

“It will also help in sending a message among the people not to kill the owls, which are on the verge of extinction and have been declared endangered species,” he said.

People in Uttar Pradesh hunt and kill the owls for performing exorcism by the “tantriks” especially on the day of Deepavali. Owls are sold for as much as Rs 2 lakh on Deepavali day, confided Arif Mohammad, a Lucknow based dealer in birds.

“It is very easy to hunt the owls, which generally reside at deserted places and buildings as they nest in dark places,” Arif said.

Sources, however, said the scheme had been designed to augment the coffers of the zoo, which always faces a resource crunch. “There are five owls in all at the zoo and if they  are adopted, it could bring a hefty Rs 50,000 annually,” said an official.

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