statesman news service
Kolkata, 4 August
 The Alipore Zoo officially launched the  “Adoption of Zoo Animals” scheme today.  The zoo has, in initiating this project, followed in the footsteps of many other zoos from across the country and the world. This innovative scheme has already managed to fetch more than Rs 30 lakh since its unveiling.   
Celebrities such as MP Derek O’ Brien and actress and MLA Debasree Roy were present during the ceremony. Mr O’ Brien announced a donation of Rs 1 crore from his MP Local Area Development (LAD) fund for the development of the historic zoo. 
Mr Hiten Barman, the state forest minister, insisted that  the “Zoo Adoption Scheme” encourages participation of the common people in the welfare of  animals held in captivity and thus helps forge a bond between man and nature. 
Mr Barman further emphasised that the launching of this scheme shouldn’t be interpreted as a sign that Alipore Zoo lacks funds required for its maintenance. Dr. B. R. Sharma, IFS, ex-director of Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park-Darjeeling,  has informed that this adoption scheme will be of financial help to the zoo authorities.  He also said that depending on the scheme’s success, this scheme would be extended to other zoos in the state. 
Efforts are underway to create a safari park centred around the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary at Siliguri, according to the state forest minister. He said that the creation of a satellite zoo in the state is also on the anvil and a hundred-acre land has been purchased for the same.  The zoo authorities also informed that the “Adoption of Zoo Animals” scheme has received an overwhelming response with celebrities like Ms Debasree Roy adopting an elephant, Ms Vaishali Dalmiya, daughter of Mr Jagmohan Dalmiya, adopting a Jaguar, Senco Jewellers adopting a peacock and the like.  Renowned novelist and academic Ms Nabaneeta Dev Sen has agreed to adopt any animal that no one else is adopting. 
The zoo authorities are soon coming up with another scheme called “Zoo Volunteer Scheme” for people who cannot afford to invest in the current project.