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Actor Darshan's appeal triggers fund flow for zoo animals

Actor Darshan’s appeal triggers fund flow for zoo animals
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Actor Darshan’s appeal triggers fund flow for zoo animals 

Highlights

Sandalwood actor Challenging Star Darshan’s appeal to animal lovers to donate funds to save fund-starved zoo parks, on behalf of the Zoo Authority of Karnataka (ZAK) has worked magic.

Sandalwood actor Challenging Star Darshan's appeal to animal lovers to donate funds to save fund-starved zoo parks, on behalf of the Zoo Authority of Karnataka (ZAK) has worked magic. The funds raised through public donations and adoption of zoo animals have surpassed Rs one crore in the past one week alone, according to the officials.

According to the details shared by the ZAK, it has managed to raise Rs 1,00,47,900 from June 5 to 10, as against the Rs 17,96,700 collected from July 29, 2020 to June 4, 2021. This jaw-dropping inflow of funds -- 559 per cent rise in the donations collected over a period of nine months till June 4 – happened in just a week after this year's World Environment Day.

In an appeal made on June 5, Darshan, known for his love for animals, said, "There are about 5,000 animals in nine zoos across the State whose lives are also impacted due to the fall in revenue because of Covid-related crisis and restrictions. People can donate or adopt an animal in the zoo by signing up to pay for their annual expenses towards food and maintenance, apart from paying their caretakers."

Commenting on the fund flow, a senior forest official said that various fans' groups of the actor were behind the drive.

After the actor's appeal, the 'Zoo parks of Karnataka' application was downloaded by nearly 50,000 people in quick succession. While donations to the tune of Rs 43 lakh were received in the first two days itself, there has been a steady rise in fund flow.

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 spoke about the dire situation of zoos struggling to feed and look after the animals.

The actor was moved by the misery of the animals during his recent visit to the Mysuru Zoo prompting him to make an appeal for public funds.

Among the adopters were fan pages, troll page-admins, and co-stars from the industry, most of whom were thanked individually on social media by Thoogudeepa. Actor Upendra adopted an African elephant at the Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens in Mysuru. He then issued a statement that read, "As per Challenging Star Darshan's call, we have adopted an African elephant and joined hands with him in his noble cause."

Forest Minister Arvind Limbavali acknowledged the actor's contribution towards fuelling the fundraiser with his appeal. "This has resulted in a record number of animal adoptions and donations towards the zoos. His (Darshan's) concerns towards the welfare of our zoo animals is highly appreciable," he said.

Most zoos in the state are self-sustained and are run majorly using gate revenue (entry tickets), which saw a significant dip due to the Covid-19 situation since March 2020, the ZAK official noted.

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