Animal adoption programme launched in Tripura sanctuary

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Agartala, Aug 19 (UNI) The Tripura government has announced an animal adoption programme at Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary to reduce expenditure burden from the department as well as imbibe the spirit of care for animals among the masses.

Talking to UNI here today, Zoo Director of Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary A K Bhowmik said the authorities were trying to replicate the model of people's participation in wildlife management followed in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

''Any individual can donate money, at least Rs 10,000, for six months for whichever animal species he likes and the zoo authorities will publicise his name in and outside the sanctuary and offer him free visits along with five others for the particular period,'' Mr Bhowmik said.

He also stated that the zoo authorities had proposed to offer income tax exemption benefit to the donor under animal adoption programme.

He pointed out that the Central Zoo Authority of India (CZAI) had assigned the Sepahijala authorities to go for conservation breeding programme of four endangered species, including clouded leopard and spectacle monkey, along with 34 other zoos of the country.

Mr Bhowmik said the CZAI identified 61 endangered animal species across the country and predicted that these would be extinct by 15-20 years and, as a result, initiated the plan of conservation breeding in the selected zoos.

''As part of sanctuary management and expansion project, we are getting one female rhino for pairing from Patna Zoo under animal exchange programme while animal exchange with Lucknow Zoo and five other zoos are at final stage,'' Mr Bhowmik underlined.

Meanwhile, the state wildlife authorities have sent a proposal of Rs 124 lakh to the Centre for development of Clouded Leopard National Park in Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary, state Forest Minister Jitendra Choudhury informed.

''India altogether has only 21 clouded leopards, out of which Sepahijala has 16,'' he said.

Mr Choudhury also added that as part of facilitation programme of the sanctuary, the state government was planning to install a 70 feet Wildlife Observatory Tower with sophisticated telescope soon along with other vital facilities.

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