'Mysore Express' goes Jumbo way

Zoo to buy animals from international markets if its financial position improves, says APCCF

'Mysore Express' goes Jumbo way

This is how former cricketer and international referee, Javagal Srinath reacted to the animal adoption scheme which has been implemented at the century-old-Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, since 2001.

Srinath, popular as ‘Mysore Express’ in Indian cricket chapter, was in the city in connection with the launching of animal adoption awareness drive programme, on Saturday.

He said the zoo’s animal adoption scheme is quite popular all over the country and number of people are coming forward to adopt any animal or bird of their choice. After adoption, the zoo authorities should inform adopters about utilisation of funds so that more and more people support the cause. Compassion, care and conservation of wildlife is need of the hour.

There is an emergent need to explain the masses the importance of conservation of animals. In fact, Mysore Zoo has good infrastructure facilities to take care of animals and birds.

M N Jayakumar, member-secretary, Zoo Authority of Karnataka and additional principal chief conservator of forests, said he would not mind buying animals from international market if people come forward in large number to adopt animals and birds housed in the zoo. Many animals are spending solitary life due to absence of partners.

 The procedure for procurement of animals from other zoos or on exchange programme is quite cumbersome. Sometimes, it will take five long years. “If the zoo’s financial position improves, I am ready to buy animals from international market at any price”, he added.
Expressing his grave concern over dwindling number of exotic animals and birds in the country, he said nearly 100 years ago, there were 40,000 tigers on 2.5 lakh sq km forests in India. And now, there are hardly 1,411 tigers and the tiger habitat has shrunk to 85,000 sq kms. This means, the country has lost nearly 75 per cent of its tiger habitat due to man’s greed. Once upon a time, there were thousands of cheetahs and the last cheetah vanished in 1950s. The number of Asiatic Lions, one horned rhinos, horn bills and Great Indian Bustard has declined sharply over the years. Almost all the important animals and birds are in hit list. Hitherto, one or two species were vanishing every year and now hundreds of species were vanishing everyday.

The rate of extinction is whopping 40,000 times. The consequences are very dangerous for mankind. Occurrence of floods in one region and drought in another region are the results of fast depleting of forests across the world.

IT exemption

Jayakumar said the Department of Income Tax has been giving 50 per cent tax exemption under Sec 80 G for amount paid towards animal adoption by general public.

Earlier, there were different rates for different animals and birds in eight zoos in the State. The matter was discussed at the governing council and worked out an uniform adoption price for all the zoos. Because of this, there has been some changes in the cost of adoption. Last year, the commissioner of Income Tax visited the zoo and appreciated the animal adoption scheme. Subsequently, he issued orders of giving 50 per cent tax rebate for the money contributed towards adoption of animals and birds in zoos.

The APCCF said the zoo has simplified adoption procedure and now people can adopt any animal or bird of their choice even for one year, one month and one day. The rate is calculated and collected accordingly. All these are being done to develop sustainability. In the absence of any grant in aid from the State Government, the zoo is entirely depending on gate collection which is not sufficient. In fact, Mysore and Bannerghatta zoos are somewhat in comfortable position but not other six zoos.

Sri Shivarathri Deshikendra Swamiji of Suttur Mutt, Mayor Sandesh Swamy, Dr C G Narasimhan, MLCs Sandesh Nagaraj and Thontadarya, Zoo Authority of Karnataka Chairman Nanjundaswamy and Zoo Executive Director Markandaiah were present.

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