Vadodara girl adopts zoo leopard after losing her pet dog
Garima Malvanker, a resident of Vadodara, sank in grief and agony after losing her beloved pet dog Pluto, last year, to a sudden illness. After Pluto's death, she decided to never share her love with another pet again. However, to honor the memory of Pluto, she visited Sayaji Baug Zoo in Vadodara and adopted a leopard as the animal instantly touched her heart.
"Pluto was born on June 24. I was very close to my Labrador and it was more like a family member and we never kept it on a leash," Garima, who works in the state assembly, told TOI. "After Pluto died, I wanted to do something special in its memory. So, I decided to adopt an animal on Pluto's birthday," she added.
Garima fed stray dogs in Pluto's memory but wanted to do something more special. "I inquired about animal adoption at Sayaji Baug Zoo and zeroed in on a leopard," she said. "I plan to continue with the adoption for at least five years," Garima added. "While there are many takers for birds, not many come forward to take responsibility of big cats," she said.
According to Pratyush Patankar, the curator of Sayaji Baug Zoo, adoption by citizens raises awareness about birds and wild animals and helps them as well. "The funds go into the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) corpus. Currently, we have 16 donors who have adopted birds as well as animals," Patankar said. "We issue a certificate of appreciation to the donors," he added.
While animal adoption is a common phenomenon in international zoos, Indian zoos have also introduced online adoption to promote awareness about animal care. Adoption also creates a sense of bonding and connection between the zoo animals and visitors. You need to adopt the animal for a specified period and the money collected goes toward the medical expenses, food, and grooming of that adopted animal.