Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Aug 18:
A proposal to name the four tiger cubs born in the Nandankanan zoo here after politicians, three of them from Odisha, has raised the hackles of wildlife activists in the state.
Nandankanan Surakhya Parishad (NSP), an outfit claiming to be fighting for the protection of zoo animals and its environment, had appealed to the Nandankankan zoo authorities on Sunday to name the four new born tiger cubs as Naveen, Bikram, Priya and Maneka while observing their 21st day (Ekoisia in Odia) at the zoo premises here.
Notably, Sneha, the elegant white tigress, had given birth to four tiger cubs including a black one on the night of June 27.
Wildlife activists have expressed misgivings about the proposal to name the tiger cubs after political leaders. “If the cubs must be named, there are hundreds of names to choose from. Why name them after politicians?” asked eminent wildlife activist Biswajit Mohanty.
“It is nothing but an attempt to curry favour with the powers that be,” another wildlife activist told OST requesting anonymity. “The movers of the proposal have tried to camouflage their real intention by making a token concession to Maneka Gandhi. Who exactly are they trying to fool?” he asked.
NSP members had organised a cake cutting ceremony attended by politicians, lawyers, wildlife activists and zoo officials, who vowed to protect the wild animals and environment on the occasion. Four cakes made as per the colours of tigers cubs named as Naveen, Bikram, Priya and Maneka were cut on the occasion by the guests.
Speaking on the occasion, chief guest and MLA from Bhubaneswar-North Priyadarshi Mishra said the observance of this type of occasion would not only encourage the people to take care of the flora and fauna but also create awareness among them about the need to conserve their numbers.
Mishra, however, said the final decision on naming the tiger cubs depends on the zoo authorities.
Zoo officials said the gender of the new born tiger cubs is yet to be ascertained by them. After ascertaining their gender, names would be given to them accordingly, they said.
Senior lawyer Madhumadhav Jena, NSP president Bijay Kumar Patra and Khordha BJD district president Subhas Patra were also present on the occasion.