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Adopt a tiger or a crocodile at Tripura zoo
Published on 15 Sep. 2008 12:26 AM IST
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Ever thought of adopting a tiger, a rhino or a crocodile? At the Sepahijala wildlife sanctuary and zoo near the Tripura capital, you can do just that. You can virtually own a wild animal of your choice by paying for its upkeep under a novel scheme to make people participate in the preservation of wildlife at the sanctuary, located 25 km south of here. "Interested individuals and institutions may adopt an animal of their choice by contributing amounts ranging from Rs.5,020 to Rs.281,000 per year for its upkeep," said wildlife warden Rajat Kumar Das. And in return, the park authorities will offer certificates of adoption, complimentary passes to visit the zoo, publication of names in leading newspapers, besides income-tax exemptions on the amount contributed. Animals listed for adoption include the royal Bengal tiger, lion, clouded leopard, rhinoceros, Himalayan black bear, hornbill, peacock, crocodile and vulture. "We are trying to replicate the model of people's participation in wildlife management followed in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka," said A.K. Bhowmik, zoo director. The Sepahijala zoo, set up in 1972, is home to 655 animals belonging to 53 different species. According to the adoption rules, animals cannot be taken home, but those who adopt them can visit the zoo whenever they feel like. On the benefactor's nameplate will be displayed the particular animal's enclosure too. This is perhaps the only zoo in India located in the middle of a sanctuary. A portion of the sanctuary was declared the clouded leopard national park."India altogether has only 21 clouded leopards, of which Sepahijala has 16," Das said. The Tripura government has finalised an ambitious master plan for all round development of the Sepahijala wildlife sanctuary and zoo. "After the implementation of the master plan, for which financial assistance has been sought from the union forest and environment ministry, the Sepahijala zoo and wildlife sanctuary would be one of India's best maintained zoo-cum-sanctuaries," said Tripura Forest Minister Jitendra Chowdhury.

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