Few takers for foresters' wildlife adoption scheme

Whatever happened to Corporate Social Responsibility?

Bengaluru: The forest department’s “Show your love through adoption of captive animals” initiative has evoked a lukewarm response though the authorities held two conferences to convince head honchos of corporate entities to support the scheme through funds earmarked for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities.

As many as 140 elephants are housed in four elephant rehabilitation camps, and the expense of several lakhs of rupees, incurred by the forest department. Currently, these camps are located in Sakrebail in Shivamogga district, Bilirigirangana temple camp in Chamarajangar district, Dubare in Kodagu district, and Doddaharave in Mysuru district. The authorities tried to rope in corporate houses to make up for the inadequate budgetary allocation to the forest department. They hosted two conferences in 2014 and 2015 to convince the head honchos to earmark a part of CSR funds for captive wild animals. The response, however, has been lukewarm. The department was open to receiving financial help from corporate entities on adoption of captive wild animals, provide vehicles to personnel working in anti-poaching camps, and for welfare of forest personnel. Only two companies responded positively to their request and sanctioned funds for construction of interpretation centre.

A senior officer told Deccan Chronicle that sponsoring the cost of feeding these pachyderms would help save funds for the department which could be spent for other purposes. People adopt birds or animals of their choice in zoos but none offered to adopt jumbos in rehabilitation camps. It was not that the department could afford to feed them but it was only to involve people in caring for wild animals in captivity. Recently, an inquiry came from a person in Andaman regarding the cost of feeding each elephant and the department emailed all details. Thereafter, there had been no reply from that person.

When contacted, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) and Chief Wildlife Warden B G Hosmath told Deccan Chronicle that the support for this initiative could come in the form of rations of rations for six months or one year for each elephant. By doing so, they could join hands with the department in demonstrating their love to captive wild animals. A large number of software engineers who were wildlife enthusiasts, could join together and sponsor elephants of their choice in any of the four camps. “I am optimistic of getting support from them in the next meeting,” he said adding that another conference would be held in Bengaluru within a couple of months.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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