The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, and absence of availability of its sure treatment or vaccine, has led people to reduce their movements for entertainment, leisure or social purposes. People are avoiding stepping out of homes unnecessarily to avoid catching the virus. In such a tense atmosphere, Zoos are struggling to sustain themselves as they have no visitors.
The zoos are mostly run solely on gate collections. These have dried up over the last few months due to coronavirus-induced lockdowns and social distancing practices. Even after the unlock measures, with reduced domestic and global tourism, tourist arrivals have reduced, thus further reducing the income of Zoos.
Citizen Social Responsibility towards Zoos Amid COVID-19 Lockdown in Karnataka
According to Zoo Authority Karnataka, a sum of ₹16 lakhs a day was needed to maintain the State zoos. This includes the feeding cost, staff salaries and other expenses. During the lockdown, the zoos managed to sustain themselves on reserve funds and most importantly the donations raised by the zoos.
The Zoos, amid lockdown, opened up animal adoptions during lockdown to receive support from the citizens in sustaining themselves. The campaign was a major success with Mysuru zoo alone raising ₹3.13 crore. The Bannerghatta Biological Park (BPP) managed to generate contributions to the tune of ₹21.41 lakh amidst the COVID-19 crisis, which had been able to raise, a sum of ₹7.02 lakh last year. Some zoos also received donations for the first time since their inception because of COVID-19 Lockdown – including Gadag zoo (₹95,000), Belagavi zoo (₹49,000) and Chitradurga zoo (Rs 1.28 lakh). The newly-opened Hampi zoo, which mobilised ₹1 lakh through animal adoptions last year, received a contribution of ₹10 lakhs during the lockdown. All in all, the ZAK confirmed that a sum of ₹3.50 crore was mobilised from the public and corporate companies.
HCL’s Support to Chennai Zoo and Madras Crocodile Bank Trust
HCL is extending its support to India’s largest zoo in Chennai – the Arignar Anna Zoological Park – as well as the Madras Crocodile Bank, to help them overcome the challenges from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The organization under its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program has extended the support to help the two entities with animal feed and care, while also providing salaries to the caretakers involved in sanitization and maintenance for a period of six months. The Crocodile Bank which houses over 2000 adult and 100 juvenile crocodiles and other species, is an iconic institution that has been engaged in the conservation of rare species for over four decades.
The company HCL is also extending similar support to the Lucknow Zoo in Uttar Pradesh.