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COVID-19 lockdown: Zoos, national parks face financial crunch; seek Centre's help for staff salaries

Country’s zoological parks, national parks and tiger reserves are facing financial crunch with no visitors during peak season owing to countrywide lockdown. 

Published: 28th June 2020 09:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th June 2020 09:28 AM   |  A+A-

At Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad, a white tiger is seen taking a dip to cool itself. (Vinay Madapu | EPS)

At Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad, a white tiger is seen taking a dip to cool itself. (File photo| Vinay Madapu, EPS)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Country's zoological parks, national parks and tiger reserves are facing financial crunch with no visitors during peak season owing to countrywide lockdown. Following this, now many have approached the Centre for financial support to keep them operational as they can’t generate resources for the staff while some have sought opening permission to generate revenue. 

National parks and tiger reserves receive a minuscule annual funding from the union environment ministry but zoos are either run by societies or under direct control of states. The licence fee and ticketing are a major source of income for most of them.

The national parks and tiger reserves remain close during the monsoon season (June-September) but they also missed on earnings from tickets and permits during peak season from March to May.  "Many tiger reserves have written to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) for expediting release of central funding to meet the regular expenses," said an NTCA official.

The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has received requests from some zoological parks to be allowed to operate for they are finding it difficult to even bear basic expenses with no income from ticketing. On the request, the CZA did allow two zoological parks in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh and Bannerghatta, Bengaluru to allow visitors.

The two parks were allowed with conditions to ensure all COVID-19 prevention and control measures be ensured during public visiting hours. "The footfall in the two parks is almost nill with rising number of cases. Some of these parks are run by societies/trusts and it is becoming difficult for them to sustain the entire set up," said a senior CZA official.  

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