Express News Service
Actor Darshan, whose love for wildlife is well-known, has put everything on hold and turned his attention to the welfare of animals housed in nine zoos across Karnataka, and has called on the public to help care for them.
The Challenging Star, who is a brand ambassador of the state’s forest and agriculture departments, released a video on June 5 (World Environment Day) in which he talks about the dire situation of zoos which are struggling to feed and look after the animals they house. He urged people to donate funds for the welfare of animals.
During a recent visit to the Mysuru Zoo, he learned that zoos have been struggling financially. “I was told that these are among the few departments that did not receive any Covid relief funds. The zoo’s revenue usually comes from visitors, especially during Dasara and summer holidays. However, in the past year, entry has been restricted due to the pandemic and lockdown,” he says.
The actor is happy about the response he has been getting. A lot of people have donated to the zoo through its app, or have volunteered to sponsor birds and animals.
He says that Mysuru zoo needs around `4.5 crore a year to feed the animals and for their maintenance. “Animal adoption will bring down the burden. Humans can express their difficulties and ask for more money or food. In what way will animals express their hunger? Or tell us what they are going through? As humans, we must make that move,” Darshan says.
While the video has elicited a positive response from people in terms of animal adoption, some people suggested that the animals could be released into the wild if the zoo authorities are finding it difficult to maintain them.
“I want to ask such people where these forests exist. We have taken over the animals’ habitat. With what little I have read and learned, I am told that animals who live in zoos cannot survive in the wild,” says Darshan.
In all, he is thankful to the many people who have come forward to help. “I hope the day we have to say ‘Once upon a time, there lived a tiger and a giraffe…’ doesn’t come. I am happy that humanity exists among people who are helping each other during this crucial time. Let us also help animals,” he says.