Pilikula Tiger and Cubs Find Benefactors
Mangaluru: The Shivarama Karantha Pilikula Biological Park, the jewel in the crown of the city, has a large animal population, totalling about 1,100. Out of them are eleven tigers.
Maintenance of such a huge zoo facility entails a huge amount of their maintenance. Lakhs of rupees are required to support them. There is no government grant to this zoo. It has to solely depend on the entrance collection.
In order to face this problem, some years ago, the zoo authorities introduced a sponsorship system, valid for a year, renewable subject to the sponsor’s willingness.
If the newborn are sponsored, such sponsors get the privilege of giving names of their choice to the animals.
Two large-hearted sponsors have come forward to support the zoo now. Kumar, a male tiger born in Pilikula, has been adopted by Prashant Shet of S L Shet Jewellers and Navaratna group of hotels by paying Rs 2 lakh.
Similarly, four tiger cubs, unnamed until now, have been adopted by Abu Dhabi-based Mangalurean entrepreneur Michael D’Souza and his family by paying Rs 5 lakh. Of them, three are male and they have been aptly named as Amar, Akbar and Antony. The female has been named as Nisha.
They were born of Netravati (9 years) and Vikram (14 years), long-time inmates of the zoo. Wildlife director H Jayaprakash Bhandary, a retired forest official himself, has been taking keen interest in maintaining the zoo, enthusiastically assisted by veterinarians, handlers and others.
Bhandary also credits the successful running of the zoo to the interest shown and support given by deputy commissioner A B Ibrahim.