A ‘resort’ for endangered fishes

Raja Varma collects rare species from across the globe

April 24, 2019 01:16 am | Updated 01:16 am IST - VIZIANAGARAM

Natures lover I.A.Raja Varma spends time with fishes in his  Sun Ray Resorts, Bhogapuram of Vizianagaram district.

Natures lover I.A.Raja Varma spends time with fishes in his Sun Ray Resorts, Bhogapuram of Vizianagaram district.

At a time when the population of many fish species is dwindling, sending them to endangered lists, a businessman here has launched an effort to protect them.

I.A. Raja Varma, Managing Director of Sun Ray Resorts, travels to different corners of the world to procure many endangered fish species and provides them a safe haven in his resort located near Bhogapuram of Vizianagaram district.

He has set up a massive pond where the endangered species thrive under the supervision of experts.

“As many as 455 fish species are on the critically endangered list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Environmentalists fear that 87 more varieties may go extinct in no time. Given the overexploitation of fish resources in freshwater and the sea, many varieties may not be seen by future generations. I am contributing to the preservation of various species in my own little way,” Mr. Raja Varma says.

The fish pond at Sun Ray Resorts looks like a safe aquarium where fish species from various countries thrive. Topping the list is alligator gar, a native of the Mississippi river of North America with a life span of around 26 years. It grows up to 148 kg.

Exotics find a home

Stingray, an endangered species, known for its electrical sensors has eyes on its dorsal side. Doctors of ancient Greece reportedly used its barb venom for anaesthesia.

The Amazon basin’s biggest fish, Arapaima, also finds a place here. It can grow up to 9 feet and 200 kg, with a life span of 20 years. ‘Archer Fish’, usually found in Papua New Guinea off Northern Australia, is another resident.

The other species include Kick-Carp, a decorative fish considered as a symbol of good luck and Tin foil barb, a native of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and other South East Asian countries.

Mr. Raja Varma personally monitors the maintenance of the fish pond reportedly constructed at a cost of more than ₹1 crore.

“Protection of nature is the first responsibility of every person. I struggle a lot to collect these species. But, it gives me immense happiness as I feel my leisure is well spent,” he says, adding that the resort spreading over 340 acres has 28,000 trees.

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