Chennai

With no visitors since mid-March due to lockdown, Madras Crocodile Bank to raise funds online

A file photograph of a crocodile at the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust

A file photograph of a crocodile at the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust   | Photo Credit: M. Karunakaran

The Crocodile Bank has appealed to the public to donate funds to help meet fixed costs to keep the bank functional -- food for animals and wages for local staff

While April and May generally see adults and children queuing up to catch a glimpse of the crocodiles at the Madras Crocodile Bank in Mamallapuram, this year has been different. Following the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown announced in March, the Crocodile bank has remained shut for visitors and this in turn, has affected their revenue from ticket sales.

The Madras Crocodile Bank Trust has now, appealed to the public, to step forward and donate funds to help with meeting substantial fixed costs to keep the bank functional -- the costs include food for animals and wages for local staff.

“The Crocodile Bank generally sees over 1 lakh visitors from April to June. We expect to remain closed till the end of June and even after that, it is going to take time for people to start visiting the park,” said Allwin Jesudasan, Director of the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust Centre for Herpetology.

The ticket sales contributes to around 50% of the revenue and the Bank will lose nearly ₹80 lakh as a result of being shut for visitors for three months. Senior staff members at the Crocodile Bank have taken a pay cut and they have cut down all activities to just the critical ones alone to ensure that costs are cut.

“Despite these setbacks, we are continuing to ensure that the animals are well cared for and that the maintenance of the Crocodile Bank remains at its usual high standards. Our main concern is about the future since we are unsure when things will get back to normal with regard to visitors and getting funds through CSR initiatives,” Mr. Jesudasan said.

At present, there are around 38 staff members including keepers and curators working at the crocodile bank, to ensure that the animals are taken care of.

The trust initially had a small fundraiser in April since they were yet to ascertain the large impact that the lockdown would have on their functioning. For their second phase of raising funds, the public can donate online through their website https://www.madrascrocodilebank.org/web/make_a_donation

Since its establishment in 1976, the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust has promoted and worked for the conservation of reptiles and amphibians through educating the public, scientific research and captive breeding.

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 3:26:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/with-no-visitors-since-mid-march-due-to-lockdown-madras-crocodile-bank-to-raise-funds-online/article31649658.ece

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