While the nation was busy celebrating the pious brother-sister bond on Rakshabandhan this year, an Odia cine actor went an extra mile to forge a bond with a four-legged creature. Sounds uncanny but that’s true! Chandan Kar set an example for others when he became the proud guardian of a two-year old Royal Bengal Tiger Bahubali. The film star adopted the predator under the ‘Adopt-an-Animal’ scheme of the Nandankanan Zoo on Aug 26th this year.
“This is the second time that I have adopted a tiger and I couldn’t contain the happiness. It was a proud moment for me to find my name displayed on the board near the enclosure. The tiger was adopted on my son Vivaan’s birthday and he was happier and excited than me,” says Chandan. He further said the adoption of animals would certainly raise the awareness and commitment levels of people to value, respect and conserve the flora and fauna around.
For the uninitiated, the Nandankanan Zoological Park introduced the Adopt-an-Animal program in 2008. Apart from individuals, the program is open to corporate bodies, clubs, NGOs and academic institutions. The program would support the Zoo’s care and services for all inhabitants by providing quality food to meet their nutritional requirements, medical care and equipment among others. The adopter would pay the amount fixed for each species he would like to adopt by extending support for a year or more. While adopters are not allowed to take the animal home, all the adopted animals would remain in the care and custody of the Zoo. All foster parents would be eligible to receive a customized adoption certificate, five entry tickets free for each adopted animal and the adopter’s name will be displayed on a special board near the enclosure.
Chandan, also a software engineer, was always fond of animals since childhood. He finds pleasure in feeding the stray animals regularly. “I prefer spending more time with animals than humans as they always reciprocate my love and care for them,” he confessed.
Like any other individual, Chandan too wasn’t aware about animal adoption programs until one of his friends informed him about Adopt-an-Animal program of the Nandankanan Zoo. “When I heard about the program for the first time, I was curious to know if I could adopt any animal or not. I registered for the program on the Zoo’s website and adopted a white tigress Vijaya in 2012,” he recollects adding that he has been directly or indirectly associated with several initiatives of Nandankanan Zoo since then.
Chandan admitted that he wasn’t very happy with the response that followed back then. Though many of his friends and well-wishers were initially curious to know about the adoption program, they never took up the cause at a later stage.
The interesting story of how Bahubali was born fascinated the actor. So he decided to contribute towards its conservation for at least a year. Notably, Bahubali was born to a captive tigress Megha and wild tiger Nandan whose love story grabbed the headlines two years ago.
Chandan’s initiative has been praised from all quarters. The huge numbers of congratulatory messages on his social media account are a testimony to this. Some feel not many youngsters and actors of his ilk dare to stand up for a cause and take it forward. Inspired by the act, two of his friends have also come forward and adopted a turtle and rock python earlier this year.
The 36-year old film star hopes his noble act will inspire others to follow suit. Chandan has recently urged the authorities of Nandankanan Zoo to promote its animal adoption program by putting up banners and posters inside its premises as the Zoo draws scores of tourists every year. Also, Chandan is in talks with a couple of non-profits to spread awareness on animal adoption programs.