Tamil Nadu

Chennai snake park needs funds to keep going

A trip to the snake park near IIT-Madras will be etched in the memory of anyone who grew up in the city. Many would have definitely visited the Chennai Snake Park as part of school excursions or family trips.

The park, inching towards its 50th year, is now in dire need of financial help, as its income has been affected by COVID-19. It has requested donations from the people to keep the park running.

From pythons, spectacled cobras, saw-scaled vipers and common kraits, there are around 30 types of snakes, crocodiles, iguanas and tortoises in the park, run by the Chennai Snake Park Trust, a charitable trust that runs a research and study centre of national importance, under the Central Zoo Authority. It is also academically affiliated to the Tamil Nadu Open University.

“This is India’s first snake part and has been in existence since 1972. Our main source of income was the entry tickets, priced at ₹20 for adults and ₹10 for children. We used to get close to five lakh visitors a year — four lakh adults and one lakh children. This used to fetch us a revenue of close to ₹1 crore,” said R. Rajarathinam, director, snake park.

He said they were managing to feed the reptiles with the help of donations. “Some people donate money based on astrologers’ recommendations, to remove dosha, while some are just well-wishers. With this money, we purchase feed and some of our staff also catch fish and rodents to feed the reptiles,” he said.

However, they need more funds to keep the park running. “We appeal for contributions from individuals, communities and neighbourhoods. Large donations get tax benefits through 80G,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dipankar Ghose, special activity co-ordinator for the snake park, said that to raise funds, the park had introduced the Snake Charmer Scheme. “In lieu of the donations, we will extend our exclusive services to the community,” he said.

Categorised according to target groups, the snake park will provide its services to industries, offices, educational institutions, clubs, residential colonies and gated communities to create “snakebite free zones” on their campuses and premises, especially with the monsoon around the corner.

“The park will also offer complimentary access to the park, volunteer training and conservation programmes. Patrons will be taken for field trips and camps, under the supervision of experts,’ he said. Payments can be made through NEFT/ RTGS, in favour of the CHENNAI SNAKE PARK TRUST, A/c 10792456546, State Bank of India, SME Branch, Adyar, IFSC Code: SBIN0013361.

or details, contact: +91 94449 81723/+91 73959 17040.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2020 1:10:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/snake-park-needs-funds-to-keep-going/article32300185.ece

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