Chennai, May 26:
Along with the Corona virus, the heatwave is creating havoc in Chennai. Many sought after outing spots including Crocodile Bank is under severe financial stress as the ticket revenue has dropped to nil.
Madras Crocodile Bank in Chennai, home to many different species of crocodiles, snakes, turtles and more, that was hoping for at least 50,000 visitors to drop by during summer holidays, has now turned to the public to help raise funds.
Having missed out on its peak season this year, the reptile zoo estimates missing out on Rs 80 lakh from ticket sales alone. Allwin Jesudasan, Director of the Madras Crocodile Bank shares, “We closed on March 16 and we will not be able to open all through June. Even if the lockdown is lifted, we are not sure if people would come in crowds. Moreover, we do have different species of animals and birds and people may have their apprehensions initially.”
Established in 1976 the Madras Croc Bank is home to over 35 species of reptiles and various species of birds, amphibians, snakes, and lizards. Presently 39 staff are on duty.
While its monthly budget has been Rs 20 lakh, spent on food and salaries, the Madras Croc Bank expects this number to go up in the coming months. “We will have to equip with sanitiser and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs). With the lockdown we are increasingly turning to the internet and so we have to upgrade our internet facilities at the premises,” he adds.
The Crocodile Bank manages half of its monthly expenses with the amount raised from ticket sales. They also receive funds from international zoos but since they too are closed now, we won’t be able to receive help from that end. Moreover the expected CSR grants too will reduce since companies may be contributing to state and central relief funds, as it is priority for now.
Chess grandmaster Vishwanathan Anand too took to Twitter to bring the spotlight on Madras Croc Bank’s fundraiser. “In Chennai all of us have been here as children and over the years taken our children there too. A fervent appeal from the “Enormous Crocodile” friends,” he has pointed out.
Connect to https://www.madrascrocodilebank.org/ for showing your concern and offer your donations.