Chennai: Actor Vijay Sethupathi on Sunday adopted a pair of white tigers at the Vandalur zoo, five-year-old male Adithya, and four-and-half-year-old Arthi.
The actor handed over a cheque for Rs 5 lakh to zoo director Yogesh Singh and deputy director Sudha Ramen. Later talking to the media, Vijay Sethupathi said one of his friends had told him about the adoption programme at the zoo. Later the zoo managers had contacted him and he agreed to adopt the pair of tigers for six months. “I will adopt some other animal after six months. Even members of the public can contribute small sums and adopt any bird, reptile or a huge animal like a lion, tiger or leopard,” he told visitors at the zoo.
The money received under the adoption programme will be spent on maintenance and feeding of the tigers, said Yogesh Singh. For a tiger or a lion, the maintenance and feed cost for a day is about Rs 2,000. The animal adoption programme in the zoo was launched in 2009 and so far 159 individuals, private companies, government undertakings, and banks have adopted animals. The zoo has received Rs 71.61 lakh from the adoption programme from its launch till last year. This year this is the first adoption, said Sudha Ramen.
Corporate houses such as Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited (BHEL), State Bank of India, Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation, Tamil Nadu Paper and Boards Limited, P.Orr and Sons, TVS, TPFIDC Ltd, Arasu Rubber Corporation Ltd, Polaris, and Nagarjuna Oil Corporation have participated in the adoption programme.
Soon after the adoption programme was launched well-known film actors beginning with Surya donated money and adopted tigers. Similarly, his brother Karthik also adopted a couple of animals.
Most of the celebrities prefer to adopt lions, tigers or elephants. School children have donated their savings by adopting peafowls and parrots. Some students have even adopted large carnivores such as lions and tigers for a day by paying Rs 2,000, zoo managers said.