The Madras Crocodile Bank in Chennai, which is home to 17 species of crocodiles and 2,000 reptiles, is facing severe financial crunch after the nationwide lockdown triggered by the coronavirus halted the flow of the visitors to the park. Revenue from ticket sales has been nil since mid-March 2020 said Madras Crocodile Bank Trust director Allwin Jesudasan. If the zoo was open during the last six months, we would have generated a crore through ticket revenue. During this period, we used to get around 30,000 visitors each month,” he said in an email.
In April, the trust opened a fundraiser to keep the facility functional. Jesudasan says this is the first time that the bank appealed to the public and the response has been overwhelming. In August, tech giant HCL stepped in to help with animal feed and provide salaries to caretakers involved in sanitation and maintenance for six months. “HCL contributed to a six-month project that aims on building the resilience of the crocodile bank. We have been focusing on diversifying the income streams so that we are not so dependent on ticket revenues in the future.