The anacondas named Arundhati, Ganga, Ruth, Angela, Renu, Ramani and Dil by zoo officials, and Malar, the white tiger, boosted the zoo’s income by 56 percent

How six anacondas and a white tiger helped Kerala zoo turn its fortunes aroundPhoto : Athul Sivan
news Saturday, September 19, 2015 - 15:16
Within months of their arrival in Kerala, these six foreigners became instant hits with the local people, all of whom wish to see these new residents of their city and are spending a lot of money for it.
 
In April 2014, the Dehiwala Zoo in Sri Lankan sent seven Green Anacondas including one male to the zoo in Kerala’s capital city. This makes Thiruvananthapuram zoo the fourth zoological park in the country to have Green Anacondas, the longest and heaviest species of snakes.
 
The zoo began displaying them in July 2014 and they became an instant hit with visitors, along with a white tiger which arrived in October that year from Nehru Zoological Park in Delhi.
 
In a year’s time, the  anacondas named Arundhati, Ganga, Ruth, Angela, Renu, Ramani and Dil by zoo officials, and Malar, the white tiger, boosted the zoo’s income by 56 percent.
 
“For last year the major attractions for visitors are the anacondas and white tiger. Since they arrived, even local people started visiting the zoo. They are our lucky stars,” says K Gangadharan, Kerala State Director for Museums and Zoos.
 
Data shows he’s not wrong. According to figures released by the Directorate of Museums and Zoos Department since the anacondas were displayed from July onwards, and Malar after its arrival in October, the zoos income shot up by Rs 1.4 crore.
 
In the financial year April 2013-March 2014 the income of the zoo was around Rs 2.4 crore and the following year, ended March 2015, the income had risen to Rs 3.8 crore, a jump of 56.3 percent.
 
Gangadharan told The News Minute that Onam contributed a good portion to the rise in the zoo’s income on account of the new animals. “Income had increased considerably and on Onam days we had a record collection this year. On Uthradam day (the day before Onam, August 27, 2015) alone we were able to collect Rs 6 lakh, and that was first time in the history of the zoo,” Gangadharan said.
 
He expects the zoo’s income to rise further by the end of this year as Malar was joined by another white tiger which arrived last month.
 
The six anacondas on display are female, but they arrived as cargo through Chennai airport along with one male anaconda, and all of them are aged between 2-6 years. The male, one of the youngest, for reasons best known to the officials, has been kept under purdah, in a manner of speaking, away from the public eye.
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