The fabled Chamarajendra Zoological park of Mysuru, otherwise known for its Dasara Jamboo Savari, has caught the attention of the Kannada Cine stars. The Zoo is getting copious funding from top stars in the form of animal adoptions -- Shivaraj Kumar, Darshan Tugudeepa, Srujan Lokesh (of Majaa Talkies fame) and Chikkanna, the well-known comedian. “They have added star value to the zoo,” says Ajit Kulkarni Executive Director of the Zoo.
Only last week, Shivaraj Kumar adopted ‘Parvathi’, a female elephant. “Shivanna always loved big animals and confided in me often his love for elephants. So recently, he said he wanted to adopt an elephant, a female elephant, from the Mysuru Zoo. He made a cheque with a generous sum and handed it over to me to complete the formalities with the Zoo authorities,” Srikanth J, a film producer told DH Showtime.
“He also apologised that he could not make it to the zoo. I am sure he would have loved to be amid the animals at the zoo. I had the honour of receiving the adoption certificate which I had submitted to him later. I could see the delight in the sparkle in his eyes,” he said.
“By adopting Parvathi, I felt that I got my mother (Parvathamma) back with me. Thanks to the zoo authorities and my friend Srikanth J, who facilitated this adoption, I will definitely make a trip and meet Parvathi. Every one of us, celebrity or otherwise, must do our bit to be kind and be of some help to the animal and bird kind. I am surprised at the happiness I got by adopting Parvathi. It has given me a new level of confidence in life,” Shivaraj Kumar said.
Srujan Lokesh (son of artistes Lokesh and Girija Lokesh) is running the show ‘Majaa Talkies’ on Colours Kannada Television channel.
He has been passionate about animals. When asked why he chose the Mysuru zoo, he says, “I have a lot of memories in the city. My entire family comes from the city. The zoo, which is in the Ittigegud area, was one of my favourite spots as a child. I have always wondered how animals lived and what they thought of people. Being a frequent visitor to the zoo, I had developed a deep love for animals right from my formative years. I would like to visit the place again, time permitting. I have adopted a male Tiger named Arjuna. I have learnt that my adoption period has come to an end. I will restart the process for adoption for the next one year. Because of the Covid situation, I could not get things moving. But I surely will, in a much larger way,” Srujan told DH Showtime.
What drives film artistes to be so kind to the animals that they dedicate a sizeable sum for their welfare? At some point in their life as actors, they would have had developed a love for animals who are featured in their films. Matinee idol Dr Rajkumar had a great love for ‘Bhairava’, the white Stallion that had a role in his film ‘Gandhada Gudi’, a senior film critic told Showtime, requesting anonymity.
Darshan had been a long-time admirer of animals. He had been adopting since 2018. So far, he has adopted a green anaconda, a tiger and an elephant. Devaraj, a well-known supporting actor and Chikanna comedian, has also been a regular in adopting animals from Mysuru Zoo.
Among younger actors, Samyukta Hornad has been at the forefront of animal welfare. She has been chosen as the wildlife ambassador for ‘People for animals’, appointed by Maneka Gandhi. She has adopted a bear named Sugreeva, a leopard named Arjun and an elephant named Maya, all from the Bannerghatta zoo.
“It is a heartening development in recent times that influential people and celebrities are showing concern towards wildlife, both in captivity as well as in the wild. When I adopted Sugreev, Maya and Arjun, I got a certificate from the Bannerghatta Biological Park stating that I am a parent of these animals. People are now more aware of the rights of the animals and their love towards them is turning into respect, which is unprecedented,” says Samyukta.
After Shivaraj Kumar adopted Parvathi, about 200 fans of the star, in 20 teams from Bengaluru, Mysuru, Hassan and Chikmagalur, came together in September to adopt animals. In the initiative co-ordinated by the Banashankari Shivu Adda, Rs 2 lakh was collected, which went towards adopting 22 animals.