Actor Karthi Sivakumar, has adopted a tigress at the Arignar Anna Zoological Park

Animals at the zoo may find amused observers, passionate photographers or an animal lover who would adopt them and support their maintenance. Actor Karthi Sivakumar, who has always been fascinated by wildlife, is one such who has adopted a tigress at the Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Vandalur.

After a visit to the zoo with his niece Diya and a bunch of children from the family on Monday, Mr. Karthi himself sounded like one, unable to hide his excitement about having seen a white tiger. “I have made several trips to the forests, but never spotted a tiger. To see the white tiger standing in front of you is something. We, in fact, saw a family of tigers. They were simply magnificent,” he said.

The kids got very thrilled and kept asking him, “Shall we take the baby tiger home, please. I can understand their sentiments completely. The animals were just adorable,” he said. The zoo allows any one to adopt any animal. It primarily means being the sponsor for the expenses incurred on food for the animal. “As we are observing wildlife day, it is important to build awareness on the need to protect animals. Anyone can. All of us have to,” the actor said. Emphasising the need to conserve tigers that were on the top of the ecological pyramid, Mr. Karthi said protecting tigers would help protect an entire eco system.

“As of now, 17 persons, including Mr.Karthi have adopted animals in the zoo,” said S. Yuvaraj, Additional Director.

Mr. Karthi has agreed to pay Rs.77,000 towards the feeding cost of the tiger for six months. The Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC) has adopted three white tiger cubs by paying Rs 3.78 lakh. Velammal School has adopted a tiger and an Indian Gaur by spending Rs.3.5 lakh. Raja, an individual, has come forward to take care of an elephant calf at a cost of Rs.1 lakh, forest officials said.

“A celebrity adopting an animal will spread the message of wildlife conservation as it has a larger reach among the public,” Mr.Yuvaraj said. The IT department has granted exemption to the money spent on animal adoption programme, he added.

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Meera SrinivasanJune 28, 2012