TN Animal Welfare Board to conduct inspection of petting zoo

The Tamil Nadu Animal Welfare Board will conduct an inspection of ‘Junglii’, considered the country’s first exotic petting zoo. The inspection team will be led by the joint director of the department.

Petting zoo is a zoo where visitors, especially children, may handle and feed animals.

Junglii is a large pet shop that doubles up as an indoor zoo exhibiting around 30 exotic animals, including hedgehogs, rabbits, snakes and different species of birds. It charges anywhere between Rs Rs 399 and Rs 9,999 from the visitors to handle and play with the animals.

A member of the state animal welfare board, Antony Rubin, had filed a complaint with the Animal Welfare Board of India, and its member secretary S.K. Dutta has already written to the regional deputy director of the Wild Life Crime Control Bureau and the Tamil Nadu Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services department to investigate Junglii and provide an action taken report.

Rubin told mediapersons that permission has to be taken under the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules if animals are to be exhibited, which Junglii did not take.

Rubin said he had paid Rs 3,097 for three persons and a camera to enter Junglii where he saw children handling exotic animals, including python, which looked tired.

He also said that exotic animal trade is a grey area as there are no proper regulations under the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972.

However, the owner of Junglii, A.R. Vijay, told IANS that they did not violate any law, adding that they were charging only consulting fee and no entry fee, and hence Performing Animals Registration was not applicable on Junglii.

He also said that Junglii is only trying to create awareness about exotic animals.

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