Your deer friend is the most adopted at Chhatbir Zoo

Three years after the Punjab Forest Department launched the animal adoption scheme at Chhatbir Zoo, the deer has emerged as the "most adopted" animal in the zoo. That too, for quite a curious reason. If zoo officials are to be believed, most of those who have adopted deer at the zoo have done so following an astrologer's advice.

Of the two dozen adoptions that have taken place in the zoo since 2010, at least eight are those of deer. And the list of people who have adopted a deer include an official from the Chandigarh Police, Deputy Superintendent of Police Vijay Kumar. Kumar, as per zoo records, adopted a deer in January 2011. In addition to individuals, even a well-known private school adopted a deer twice. One can adopt a deer by paying an annual adoption fee of Rs 24,190.

Asked about the astrological significance behind adopting a deer, city-based astrologer Ashish Puri said, "We mostly suggest a person to feed a deer when certain corrections related to planet mercury are required. However, the reason for asking to do so varies from person to person."

"We had started the scheme with a sole purpose of increasing the attachment of people living in urban areas with wildlife. Though this scheme is not very popular, many people usually come to adopt an animal because a pandit has asked them to," said Harpal Singh, Block Officer (Animal Management) at the zoo.

Even some Australian players playing in the IPL recently visited the zoo and donated Rs 25,000 to the zoo. "They were on a visit to the zoo during one of the IPL matches. After they visited the zoo, all the players collectively donated to the zoo," an official said.

"When the adoption scheme had started, only the corporate houses had come up for adoption of animals. Then an educational institution had adopted a peacock as they wanted to make it their logo," said Field Director Dr Munish Kumar.

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