CHENNAI: The world-renowned Madras Crocodile Bank on the outskirts of the city is facing a financial crisis due to the unprecedented lockdown.
With over 2,000 animals to feed, the conservation centre is struggling to make ends meet. Its operator and joint director Zai Whitaker told The New Indian Express that core operating cost alone comes to about 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." Currently, the Croc Bank is managing with donations and contingency fund, which is reserved for natural disasters such as cyclones.
"This will have to be replenished and that will be another challenge," Whitaker said.
Unlike other zoological gardens like Vandalur Zoo, the Croc Bank is not financially supported by either State government or the Central Zoo Authority (CZA). The Croc Bank is staring at a Rs 30 lakh revenue loss if the lockdown continues till the end of April.
Apart from financial loss, the transport restrictions due to lockdown has thrown a huge challenge to the operators.
"Luckily, the Ministry of Environment and Forests and the CZA quickly got into action and requested that zoos be added to the list of places which could access emergency supplies," Whitaker said.