Croc death sparks concerns over noise levels from resort

Madras Crocodile Bank founder alleges that animal died as a result of stress

Published - April 05, 2019 01:19 am IST - CHENNAI

The death of the crocodile coincided with an event on March 30 at the resort, said Romulus Whitaker

The death of the crocodile coincided with an event on March 30 at the resort, said Romulus Whitaker

Questions have been raised by the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust, Centre for Herpetology, following the death of a critically endangered Cuban crocodile in their premises.

In a viral post on the crocodile bank’s social media account, Romulus Whitaker, the founder, said the death coincided with an event on March 30 at the Sheraton Grand Chennai Resort and Spa, which is located next door.

“Heavy bass music was being played in the lawn area and continued in spite of repeated requests to lower the volume. There is no doubt in my mind that the animal died as a result of stress caused by the vibrations, and there are precedents to this from the zoo community abroad,” Mr. Whitaker said, stating that he was shattered about the loss.

He said the Cuban crocodile was a critically endangered species according to the World Conservation Union (IUCN) listing. The crocodile bank had one male and four females. The casualty was one of the latter.

“The Cuban crocodile enclosure is around 50 ft from the wall which divides the hotel from us and the powerful hi-fidelity speakers had been placed right next to it. The animal was healthy, had been fed recently, and had no injuries or history of sickness,” he added, stating that this was a critical breeding group for one of the world’s most endangered animals. Mr. Whitaker concluded his post by saying that they would now consider moving the group to another location despite the difficulty and cost involved.

Compliance assured

In February, the herpetologist had shared his concerns about the reptiles being exposed to loud noise from the resort nearby. He had said that the longterm effects could possibly impact their breeding and behaviour patterns. The hotel then reached out and held a meeting between the trustees of the bank. They assured them of compliance with legal regulations with regard to decibel limits.

When enquired, Shibil Malik, general manager, Sheraton Grand Chennai Resort & Spa, said they were committed to safeguarding the environment and had always adhered to the laws.

“We have been proactively working with the Madras Crocodile Bank, following our meeting with them in FebruaryWe assure our full support to the authorities concerned,” he said.

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