Kannada filmstar Darshan Toogudeepa adopted an elephant calf for a year at the century-old Mysore Zoo under the animal adoption scheme on Monday. He paid adoption fee of Rs. 35,000 for a period of one year.

According to zoo sources, Darshan is perhaps the first Kannada film star to have adopted the animal under the scheme which is gaining popularity among animal lovers, politicians, industrialists, students and many others.

The star's gesture may further boost the scheme, the sources feel.

“Actually, my son Vineesh gets attentive and smiles whenever he sees an elephant. I have adopted the jumbo calf because of him and my love to animals. Whenever I am free from my shooting schedule and visit Mysore, I can show the baby elephant to my son,” said Darshan, a Mysorean.

In a chat with The Hindu, Darshan said: “I learnt about the adoption scheme and immediately decided to adopt an animal. I chose an elephant because of my son.”

Darshan, who has acted in over 35 films in a career spanning over a decade, nurtures the dream of adopting tiger cubs.

“Presently tiger cubs are not available for adoption, but the zoo authorities have promised me of giving the opportunity once the cubs are born here,” the actor said.

Darshan's gesture may motivate his colleagues in the film industry and fans to follow suit. “I'll definitely promote animal adoption scheme among my friends in the film industry as it is genuine and helps the zoo in its conservation,” he felt.

Being a Mysorean, the filmstar recalls the memories he had about the zoo. “I was the member of the Zoo Youth Club. I still cherish the memories,” recalls Darshan, who has reared Emu, Ostrich and horses at his farm on T Narsipur.

Keywords: Animal welfare

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