In what is was being seen a unique scheme, the Punjab Government six years back came up with the policy of animal adoption. This came as a welcome move especially among animal activists who had been fighting for more laws to prevent cruelty to animals.
While the scheme is on, the government’s initiative in this direction have been sincere and now very recently the Punjab Zoos Development Authority, also responsible for running the adoption scheme has announced a rebate in the income tax if anyone goes for animal adoption.
Income Tax Exemption
The Society which runs the scheme at Chhatbir zoo has said that whatever sum is contributed to the society for animal donation will be eligible for exemption under the Section 80G of the Income Tax Act, 1961. As per officials 50 percent of the said amount will be considered for exemption.
Free entry into the zoo
In addition to this those who come forward for this cause are allowed free entry to the zoo four times in a year, besides also a certificate to acknowledge their gesture. The donors are also invited whenever there is a state function at the zoo besides a souvenir kit. Their names also find a mention at the board near the concerned animal enclosure besides having a mention on the official website of the Punjab Wildlife Department.
Encouraging Community Involvement
The main objective behind the scheme is to encourage community involvement in caring for the birds and animals in all important zoos of Punjab. The scheme is open to all individuals and organisations who can adopt a bird or animal for one year, which will go in not just the food for animal but also hygiene besides also costs incurred in medical treatment whenever required.
In addition to Chhatbir zoo, this scheme is applicable in other zoological parks like Ludhiana, Bathinda and Patiala. Those who are kind enough to adopt an animal are regularly informed about the well-being of the animal.
NGOs also pitching in
The government has got an encouraging response from the individuals and even NGOs as is the case in Ludhiana where an NGO has adopted 10 birds and animals and is also working towards encouraging people to adopt animals.
The Adoption Cost
The most expensive is the upkeep of a lion which goes beyond Rs 1.5 lakh for a year, while maintaining a deer comes to around Rs 15000 while for a bear one has to pay around Rs 60,000 annually.
The adoption scheme doesn’t end with just people adopting animals but there are people who donate money for these animals by organising community langars and the money collected is donated to the zoo authorities.
Authority to keep a check
Those who adopt animals are also given the authority to keep a check on the diet of the animal and also the living condition of the animal adopted. In case the donors find anything which is not satisfactory they can lodge their complaint with the concerned authorities and also seek action-taken report for the same to know what remedial measures were taken.