No Crocodile Tears: Madras Croc Bank Faces Financial Crisis
The Madras Crocodile Bank, an icon of Chennai, is facing a financial crisis thanks to the lockdown.
It has survived the 2015 floods, the 2016 Vardah cyclone and the 2018 Gaja cyclone, but the Madras Crocodile Bank in Chennai is reeling under the current COVID-19 lockdown that’s brought revenue to a standstill, as maintenance expenses continue to mount.
Zai Whitaker, operator and joint director of the crocodile bank, explained to The New Indian Express that core operating costs alone come to around Rs 20 lakh per month.
“This apart, there are other costs such as our conservation outreach, running of our king cobra rescue project and a field station in the Andamans,” she added.
How Many Animals to Feed?
There are over 2,000 animals to take care of in the crocodile bank and the snake park. Currently, the centre is managing with donations and a contingency fund meant to tide them through natural disasters like floods or cyclones. Replenishing this, Whitaker says, will be another challenge. It is neither supported by the state nor the Central Zoo Authority (CZA).
The crocodile bank is staring at a revenue loss of Rs 30 lakh if the lockdown continues till the end of April. Nevertheless, zoos being added by the Ministry of Environment and Forests to the list of places that can access emergency supplies has come as a relief.
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