Sundarvan Nature Discovery Centre, the city’s only mini-zoo, has been impacted by a covid-caused funding shortage. The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has designated it as a mini-zoo. It is home for birds, mammals, and reptiles. Among the dense vegetation of various tree species, it also has an aquarium and a butterfly park.
The mini-zoo, established in 1978 by renowned ornithologist Salim Ali, derives the majority of its revenue from admission fees and other nature and wildlife awareness programmes. It is run by the Centre for Environment Education (CEE) and Karmakshetra Educational Foundation and is located in the Jodhpur Tekra area. A large portion of the funding came from a central government programme that was phased out a few years ago.
“All our activities suffered a major setback due to Covid and so has the revenue collection from entry tickets. To cope with this crisis, we are reaching out to people to make donations. The average monthly expenditure is about Rs 5 lakh for maintenance and security, cleaning staff, electricity, wages, etc. The cost of food for the animals is about Rs 1 lakh per month,” briefed Suresh Nair, senior programme coordinator, CEE.
Through social media and other platforms, authorities are urging people and organizations to contribute even by way of adopting an animal for a month.
“Sundarvan is not at a stage where it is facing imminent closure. But there are financial issues and a fund-raising programme started recently is showing positive results,” said Kartikeya Sarabhai, founder-director.
Programmes like ‘green birthday’ celebrations, overnight camping, nature trail walks, bat awareness programs, spider watching, bird watching, tree identification and school visits are also major sources of funds.
Sundarvan’s snake park was redesigned three months ago as part of a project funded by Wagh Bakri Tea Group’s corporate social responsibility (CSR).