World-renowned yoga expert B.K.S. Iyengar, who died on Wednesday, had a close association with the century-old Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, known as Mysore Zoo. Mr. Iyengar, who was fond of animals, started adopting tigers and African hunting cheetah cubs in the zoo from 2008.
During his visits to Mysore, he made it a point to visit the zoo to either renew the adoption or tour the zoo with members of his family and disciples.
“Mr. Iyengar was a regular visitor. I interacted with him three years ago,” said Mysore Zoo Executive Director B.P. Ravi. “He had come with his family members and had lunch at the food court. He visited the zoo kitchen and praised us for the cleanliness.”
“His family members had come to the zoo recently and adopted tiger cubs, Vayuputra and Mruthyunjaya, on his behalf as he could not make it due to poor health. His support for conservation of animals will be remembered forever.”
Mr. Ravi told The Hindu that Mr. Iyengar adopted tiger Brahma and Anu for lifetime, making a one-time donation of Rs. 20 lakh. “The money is kept in a fixed deposit account and the interest is used to look after the tigers,” he said.
Recalling the time spent with Mr. Iyengar, Mr. Ravi said, “Only after repeated requests did Mr. Iyengar agree to have a tender coconut during his previous visit. He and his family would have lunch either at the zoo’s food court or the Karanji Lake Nature Park.”
Mr. Iyengar first adopted a tiger and a cub by remitting Rs.1.2 lakh towards the annual maintenance of the animals.
Mr. Iyengar was felicitated by the zoo authorities for his generous contribution. In his speech, the yoga exponent said the country’s tiger population was on the decline and stressed the need for safeguarding animals and birds.