The zoo, which has often received flak for its management of animals, is launching this programme with a total of 356 animals including four tigers, eight leopards, jackals, sloth bears, spotted deer, blue bulls, black bucks, peacocks, emus, crocodiles and several birds as well as monkeys.
"The intention is not to make money from the venture but to involve public in the conservation process," zoo in-charge Sunil Bawaskar said. "This has already been done in other cities like Chandigarh. Adoption automatically increases the interest of a person in an animal and that will hopefully increase people's sensitivity towards them," he further said.
The rate for adoption varies from animal to animal. While a Black Buck can be adopted for Rs 4000 a year, adopting the national animal will cost Rs one lakh per annum. There are different rates for entire enclosures too.
A person or a private company can join this initiative. The zoo has also announced certain benefits for those who adopt and locals have started showing keen interest with authorities receiving a lot of queries in this regard, the official added. The benefits include photograph of the adopted animal, one year complimentary pass for five people, framed official certificate of adoption, information about the adopted animal, display of name in front of the adopted animal enclosure for those who dish out between Rs 10,000 to Rs 25,000.
"People are welcome to associate themselves with the animals in any other way, like arranging for their food or other facilities. Apart from a year, animals can also be adopted for 3-6 months, the charges of which will be set accordingly," Bawaskar said.
The Maharajbagh Zoo is part of Punjabrao Deshmukh Agriculture University, Akola which is running the College of Agriculture near the Zoo.