Wildlife
The Chennai hotel has told TNM that it plans to meet with the Padma Shri awardee to discuss the problem and resolve it.
Facebook/Madras Croc Bank

Weddings and parties are reasons for breaking free and having fun, but the implications of loud music and trash generated as a result of such celebrations on the lives of animals and other humans is often disregarded by many of us. In a rare post shared online by Romulus Whitaker of the Madras Croc Bank, the Padma Shri awardee and Snake Man of India writes about his concern on the long-term effects of loud noise on reptiles.

Explaining that he is not a social-media regular, Rom wrote about the precious breeds housed at the Madras Croc Bank, the country’s leading Herpetology centre.

“I’m not a regular facebooker, but want to share my concern about our valuable collection of reptiles at the Croc Bank, which includes breeding groups of Critically Endangered species that are part of rewilding programs, such as the red-crowned roof turtle,” he begins his post.

He then goes on to write about the luxury resort, Sheraton Grand Chennai, built right next to the bank, its frequent events and the loud noise generated as a result and why this is a cause for worry.

“The Sheraton Grand hotel(@sheratonchennai ), built right against our wall, seems to be an “events” resort for weddings, and blasts loud music, complete with booming bass levels that triggers aberrant behaviour among our animals. It’s surprising that a “brand” hotel sounds like a cheap disco,” reads his post.

Explaining that the decibel levels are beyond accepted levels most of the times, Rom shares that the long-term effects of loud noise on zoo animals are yet unknown but are sure to cause harm.

“The decibel levels and timings consistently exceed the legal limits. On one particular day, our decibel readings (taken at the Croc Bank) ranged from 85 to 140. The legal daytime decibel level is 55 and post-6 pm, 45 (Pollution Prevention Act 2002). It was like a combo of war zone and earthquake.

What are the long-term effects going to be on the zoo animals? Sound is a weapon, and I’m guessing that this auditory torture may well change their breeding and behaviour patterns. If any of you out there have come across information on the effects of noise on reptiles, please share,” he says.

Rom ends his post with a requests to young “herpers”, to make sure they have quiet, zero-decibel weddings.

Read the full post here:

When TNM reached out to Sheraton Chennai, Marketing Communication Manager Jayadev shared that the establishment is planning for a meeting with the Croc Bank next week. “We saw Mr Rom’s post and we are planning for a meeting next week. We are also concerned about the animals. We’ve already set up for a meeting. We are trying to work with them to find a solution to this problem.”