LAHORE: The Lahore Zoo, which is facing a financial crunch during the lockdown enforced to curb coronavirus, has decided to promote its animal and bird adoption programme to cover its expenses.
People and organisations fond of animals and birds can adopt the creatures of their choice. They will have to bear the cost of food and medicine for the adopted animals and birds.
The Lahore Zoo, as an independent entity, is responsible for all its expenses and the source of income is the admission ticket of visitors, parking fee, canteen and rides’ contracts, and animal adoption fee, but the lockdown has created a financial crisis.
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The zoo was closed to visitors about a month and a half ago. As a result, its only revenue stream has dried. The zoo currently has about 1,200 animals and birds of 120 species, whose annual expenditure is close to Rs80 million. Salaries and other maintenance expenses are of about the same amount, which have become difficult for zoo management to fulfill.
The administration stated that the biggest problem at the moment is the cost of animal feed, on which about Rs250,000 are spent daily.
Zoo Director Chaudhry Shafqat Ali confirmed that the management is facing a difficult situation. He added that the zoo has been closed for a month and a half due to which the only source of income is gone, while all the savings have been spent on meeting the expenses so far.
The authorities have availed the option to expand the animal and bird adoption programme to cope with the crisis. A campaign is being launched through the social media in this regard so that people and organisations can be informed about the offer.
There are different classifications of animals and birds which are up for adoption. Any citizen or organisation can adopt any number of animals and birds of their choice.
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The purpose of the adoption scheme is to raise awareness among the citizens about the love of wildlife, their habitat and feeding habits, and to get funds for the zoo so that they can be used to ensure the growth, protection and conservation of wildlife.
Under the adoption scheme, the recipient citizens and institutions will have to bear the cost of food and medicine for the adopted animals and birds.
Under the policy, any animal or bird can be adopted for three to six months or one year and the adopter will have to pay all the expenses for the period.
“Citizens will be able to suggest the name of the adopted animal and celebrate its birthday, and they will also be able to visit the animal without a ticket at any time during zoo hours,” said the director.
The adopter will be allowed to be present at the time of feeding the adopted animals and birds. The Lahore Zoo administration will provide literature and information regarding the animals’ diet and habits.
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Adoption Scheme Assistant and Lahore Zoo Education Officer Kiran Saleem said that various institutions have adopted many animals in the facility and suggested their names in the past.
“A pair of white tigers was given the name Sam and Mohani. Similarly, a pair of lions was named Raja and Rani,” she said. “The zoo now has leopard cubs, African lion cubs, brown bears, zebras, chinkara, hog, fallow and red deer that can be adopted,” she added. According to documents accessed by The Express Tribune, the fee for adopting animals is millions of rupees.
The adoption fee of an African elephant that does not currently exist in the zoo is Rs1.15 million per annum, while the cost for six months is Rs575,000 and for three months Rs287,500.
Similarly, the annual expenditure of Bengal tiger, white tiger and African lion is Rs607,000 for a year, Rs303,500 for six months and Rs151,750 for three months.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 11th, 2020.