Abandoned by their foster parents after the craze for adoption fizzled out, many animals, including lions and tigers, in Kolkata Zoo have become orphans once again.
This season only a handful - just nine animals have so far been lucky to have found someone to sponsor their living costs in the cage.
The picture was different when the 140-year-old zoo started an animal adoption scheme in the middle of 2013 and corporates and animal lovers made a beeline to make a difference in the lives of the animals.
“42 animals were adopted right at the beginning. The craze for adopting a tiger or a lion was such that we received more applications than the number of those animals in the zoo,” former zoo director K L Ghosh told PTI.
A year later the craze started to wear off and only 12 patrons were found for adopting 25 animals.
This year the picture is bleaker as the authorities are struggling to find takers for even their most prized assets.
Besides lions, even tigers, elephants, rhinos and leopards - pride of any forest - are waiting for support from a foster parent.
“Many of them (patrons) are not renewing their contracts with us. We are trying our best to get as many wildlife lovers on board with us,” Zoo director Ashish Kumar Samanta said.
Spread over 45 acres in Alipore, the zoo is the country’s oldest formally stated zoological park and is now home to over 1250 animals.